education in singapore

Preparing for Primary 1- First Day of School(Part Four)

Taken on the 1st day of school

Jan 3rd 2011 was the day which marked the start of Monkey Boy’s 1st day in Primary 1. It was a really important day for both him and me. It was a reminder to me that my little boy has grown up and reach another important milestone in his life. For him it was the start of his academic life as a student in a large establishment ( school) of more then 1500 pupils.

It’s a vast difference for him to have 30 students in his class as compared to only 5 pupils in Kindergarten 2. He will not be getting all the attention from the teachers like he used to get in Kindergarten also he would have much more to cope with on a daily basis.

I was worried if he would be able to adapt to the changes and learn how to cope with the new timetable. Luckily my fears were unfounded and Monkey Boy was able to adapt to the new environment quite easily.

Both of us started preparing for the 1st day of school about a month before. After the orientation in November 2010 we purchased the necessary stationary and books and got him a brand new schoolbag. We also got 2 sets of school uniforms and another 2 sets of PE- attire and school shoes to go alone with it.

I labelled all of his books for him and wrapped them in plastic so that they could remain in their pristine condition longer.  Monkey boy also got a new wallet and lunch box for school during the December holidays.

After much discussion it was decided that Monkey Boy was only allowed to buy food the maximum 2 times a week from the school canteen and on other days he was to bring the food that was packed for him. Food sold in the school canteen isn’t really that healthy and the portions are rather small. I want to ensure that he is getting sufficient nutrition for his age so he has to bring food from home and pack it in his lunch box by himself. He too was in charge of washing and polishing his own school shoes as now at 7 yrs old he has to have more responsibilities around the house

How was your child’s 1st day of school?

Here is the whole series if you have missed out any parts.

  1. Registration Process for Primary 1
  2. What is expected of your child.
  3. Before  Primary 1
  4. Preparation for the 1st day of School


Preparing for Primary One- The Registration (Part One)

Photo by Photoxpress

Entering Primary One this January  was a milestone for my eldest son- Monkey Boy. It marked the departure from being a pre-schooler and  the start of being a primary school student.

At the start of the year he was eagerly looking forward to being in a new school. However he entered  his new school with mixed feelings as  he was sad to have to part with his kindergarten friends who have been with him for the past four years.

Even though the actual registration process only takes about 5-10 minutes there was a lot of preparation which led up to the moment where I filled out the form at the general office. I had made my decision of which school to send Monkey Boy to even before he entered kindergarten. I was lucky to be teaching in a good school so Monkey Boy was able to enter under Phase 2(a)2 which was as good as 100% guarantee of a place in the school.

The preparation

Every parent aims to send their child to the best schools. With a solid foundation your child will be able to keep up with his peers or even surpass them in his studies.

For some parents choosing of a suitable primary school for their child takes place 3 to 4 years before the registration date. In bid to get their child in their chosen school they may do one or all of the following.

  1. Shift house to stay within 1km radius of their chosen school.
    This has two main benefits. Firstly, it will cut down transportation cost and time to and from school. Secondly, the close proximity plays an important part in consideration for entry if there happen to be a ballot for the phase you are registering your child in.If you are staying outside the marked radius  your child would not even be considered if there are already too many people balloting for a place.(As stated on MOE’s website)

    2C Supplementary Places will be balloted according to the home-school distance category in the following order of priority. Singapore Citizens will be given two ballot slips for each child, while Singapore Permanent Residents will get one ballot slip per child.

    1. Children living within 1 km of the school of choice.
    2. Children living between 1 km and 2 km of the school of choice.
    3. Children living outside 2 km of the school of choice.

    Children living within 1 km of the school of choice will be considered first for allocation of places, followed by those living between 1 km and 2 km and lastly, those living outside 2 km of the school of choice. If the number of children under the category being considered is more than the vacancies available, balloting will be conducted for that category.

    Phase 3 Places will be balloted according to the following order of priority:

    • a. Children who are Singapore Citizens
    • b. Children who are Singapore Permanent Residents
    • c. Children who are not Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents


  2. Sign up for Parent Volunteer
    (40 hr community service with the school)This option is popular with parents who have the spare time and have no affliation whatsoever with the school of choice.  By completing the mandatory 40 hrs they get a chance to register their child under Phase 2B. This gives their a higher chance of entering the choosen school which annually has a oversubscribed balloting exercise at Phase 2C.Parents would have to take note of the cut off date and interview sessions for qualifying as a parent volunteer(PV). They also have to meet the schools stringent conditions for being a parent volunteer. For many schools the parents would have to register for PV at least  1-2 years before their child enters the school.

    Sometimes even if you have clocked the 40hrs it doesn’t mean a guaranteed entrance to the school if there happens to be balloting at Phase 2B due to limited number of vacancies. In this sense PV is not a failproof school entry card for your child and you would have to monitor the school’s PV entry history before embarking on this path.

  3. Join the school’s alumni Being an old boy or and old girl of a prestigious school does has it’s benefit.  By being an alumni member you would be able to register your child under Phase 2A (1) and effectively secure a place for your child.
  4. Be an active community leaderBeing an active member of the Residents’ Committee (RC), Neighbourhood Committee (NC), Citizen’s Consultative Committee (CCC), Community Club Management Committee (CCMC) or the Community Development Council (CDC) does have it’s benefit.

    If your chosen school is within the GRC you serve and you have an executive status it would enable you the chance of  getting a letter signed by your MP to endorse you as an active community leader for priority registration in Phase 2B.


To learn more about which Phase your child would qualify for you can check out MOE’s website.


In the next installment I will be explaining on what is expected of your child as she/he enter’s Primary 1.


Part 1- The Registration

Part 2- Meeting Expectations