Alfred's New Ramblings

Preparing for Primary 1

Sunday’s newspaper had a 2 pager on preparing for Primary 1 or Grade 1. Since I had two kids through that grade, I can call myself a veteran of sorts. It does not have to be stressful, All it takes are some preparation. Here are some battle scars.

  1. Label all possessions religiously.
    Magic marker, label  and cover with sticky tape, special stickers all possessions. Religiously! Bag, books, water bottle, pencils, pencil box, erasers you get the drift.
  2. Pocket money.
    Very few kids at P1 are adventurous in food. So don’t give them much money, just a dollar or two. Pack a light lunch box for your child to share/exchange. It’s a great way to bond. There are no ice to break. Most importantly, you must emphasize, the money is for food and nothing else. Otherwise you will end with some random junk from the school bookstore, overpriced erasers, pencils and magic matchboxes.
  3. Comm file
    My childs’ school operates on the lowest common denominator. Therefore all parent communications are via paper. Lots of them. You need a system for your child to keep them or you will be looking a pile of crumpled forms to sign off. There is also the time table and its various revisions, English spelling list, Mother Tongue spelling list and so on. Prepare a communication file with clear pockets, train your child to put these papers into the pockets. Label the file and the pockets. English stuff goes into one pocket, school comms letter goes into another etc.
  4. All-in-1 printer
    Since whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, duplicate the spelling lists. There is a good chance your child will leave the comm file in school on the eve of the spelling test. To save you the stress of climbing over the school fence, duplicate two copies of all spelling lists. One copy for home file, one copy for the caregiver. You may need a duplicate file at the caregiver. Don’t forget to duplicate the time table! I kept a photo in my handphone.
  5. WhatsApp
    Some teachers maintain a chat group for communication with the parents.  If you, the parent don’t have a smartphone, time to get one.  If you child needs a phone, give a dumb/feature phone.
  6. School calendar
    This is the calendar of upcoming activities. Eg tests, field trips etc. If your child’s school publish this, keep hold of this. This helps you to prepare for upcoming tests.
  7. Weird classmates
    Not all children are as well behave as your precious, teach them how to ignore them. I am sure you have heard of horror stories of children not sitting in their place wandering around in class and re-possessing other children’s stuff, trust me, they are all true.
  8. Teach your child to be responsible  for their stuff.
    Your child is old enough to play with the iPad, they are old enough to take care of their own stuff.  Eg encourage use only one pencil box for all locations and activities.
  9. Bag Inspection.
    You will never know what you might find.  On the first week, we found lots of trinkets from the school bookshop.  No parental control + money = freedom.  Make it a good practice to do weekly random bag inspections.  Daily if you have the time.  This is to make sure no assignment left behind.
  10. Try to wash the whites separately.
  11. Maths
    All problems are solved using a bar model link.  Using other methods, you are doing it wrong.  Use of algebra will get blank stares.  The official guide is available in the bookstore and Popular Bookstores.
  12. Spelling Lists.
    Keep all spelling lists for the weaker language.  You will need to go through all of them for mid year and end of year tests/exams

See?  Wasn’t so difficult after all right?

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