There are quite a few phases in life that make parents realise that their little one is all grown up, and one of these phases is the transition from preschool to Primary 1. It must be a proud moment for you as a parent, as you think about your child donning that new uniform and how he/she can now become more independent. We share your joy, and we’d like to highlight some vital steps you can take to help your child prepare for yet another milestone in his/her young life.
1. When the School Bell Rings!
To begin with, your child will need to be time sensitive – this includes waking up at a specified time in the morning and learning to catch the bus on time. Besides avoiding being late for school, punctuality in general is a great habit to cultivate from young.
While in school, the start and turn of events revolve around the bell ringing, and it would be great if your child can start the next class by being prepared (e.g., Keeping his/her books or taking out the arts and crafts kit). Students who make the effort to be prepared for lessons often leave a good impression on their teachers.
Helping Your Child: Since your child is just starting his/her Primary 1 journey, you can help by catching the bus with him/her for the first month or so, and arrange for pick up after school. As your child starts to get the hang of the school routine, do step back gradually and let him/her go through it all independently.
Now’s also a great time to encourage your child to get out of bed promptly in the morning when the alarm rings, instead of lingering for too long in bed – the last thing we want is for him/her to oversleep and be late for school.
2. The Courage to Speak Up
As your child will need to be more independent from Primary 1 onwards, he will need to learn to open up to both teachers and peers, and voice his/her intentions in various situations in school. This includes simple tasks such as getting the food and drink items from the canteen during break time and articulating his/her thoughts clearly during show and tell.
Helping Your Child: Do guide your child on how to communicate politely, and remind him/her on the importance of offering a nice ‘thank you’ when the request is granted.
One way to do this is to act out the roles and situations at home, for example, with your child asking for the food he wants, and you playing the role of the one serving the food. You can include the act of exchanging money as well, so that’s an added item learnt.
3. Fluency in Language
Now that your child is progressing to Primary 1, it is essential that he/she is able to read and write well. Apart from helping him/her catch up with lessons in school, having the fluency in these two key skills will lead to an advantage in the composition writing and reading components.
Helping Your Child: You can help your child develop the literacy skills needed to do well in primary school and beyond through literacy programmes such as MindChamps Reading & Writing. After more than a decade of extensive research and development, MindChamps has developed the Reading & Writing enrichment programme for children aged 3 to 10 years old to instill in them the desire to read and write, and equip them with the skills that will last them into their adult years.
In reading, for example, the programme does not teach phonics in isolation. In phonics, the programme teaches words, blending graphemes and phonemes within the body of text, for this has proven to be the most effective way to master language. Once the foundation for reading is established, the ability to write naturally follows.
4. Pack the right stuff
The things that your child need to bring to school may vary from day to day, so do help him/her by offering some tips to pack smart for school.
Helping Your Child: Go through the packing of your child’s school bag the night before for the first two weeks or so and help him/her along the way. This can come in the form of a weekly packing list based on your child’s class timetable, where you both determine the items needed from Monday to Friday.
You might also want to emphasise that your child updates this list as and when there are changes in the schedule, so that he/she does not end up leaving any important items at home or carrying extra items that are not needed for the day.
5. Life in school
Before the big first day of school, have frequent conversations with your child about what to expect of life as a primary schooler. Apart from the curriculum and learning objectives, you might want to also talk about your child’s social life as well. This gives both of you a chance to identify potential problems that he/she might face (e.g. making new friends), and come up with a plan to overcome them.
Helping Your Child: Help your shy child build his/her confidence when interacting with others by organising a get-together with his/her friends from school or meeting up with your own friends who have children around the same age group. This will allow your child to practice building up his/her social skills and boost your child’s confidence in joining in and/or initiating a conversation.
Find out how the MindChamps Thinking Cap programme can help your child excel in school through effective learning techniques and by developing the Champion Mindset in him/her!
This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.