Singapore education

Preparing for Primary One- Before Primary One

Photo by Photoxpress

Prior to being in primary school I sent Monkey Boy to both nursery and kindergarten. I feel that it is important that he get use to a formal learning environment before he enters primary school. I also wanted him to learn how to get along with other kids and learn from other teachers besides me.

Besides sending Monkey boy for academic classes I enrolled him in piano and swimming as I feel that it’s important to help nurture his right brain through music and physical prowess through sports. Swimming is a must for my kids as it’s a lifesaving skill which  may come in very handy as we are living in an island state.

Before entering primary one Monkey boy is expected to know  more than his ABCs and 123s.  It is assumed that he knows the following



  • Classification of verbs (eg. jump, walk, crawl) and nouns (eg. aeroplane, house, shopping centre)

Grammar and Punctuation

  • Singularity and plurality, adjectives, pronouns, possessives
  • Present and past tense

Written Expression

  • simple descriptive sentences for composition writing (Eg, Jane is wearing a red blouse and blue jeans.
  • penmanship- legibility of words written given a specific passage.  (I’m personally not too concerned if Monkey Boy’s writing is not print perfect. It is more important to me that he and the teachers understand what he is writing. )

Oral and Show and Tell:

  • Formal tests involving:
    • Reading of a passage in the presence of the examiner
    • Discuss the events depicted in a picture with the examiner
    • Develop and present materials for a presentation to the class based on topics chosen by the teacher (eg. “My Favourite Toy”)
    • Having a dialogue with the examiner based on a given scenario.
      ( *This is something new which will be slowly introduced to the students to prepare them for the changes which will be implemented during PSLE in the coming years. )
    • Students will be graded based on clarity of delivery and content.


  • Addition and Subtraction up to 20
  • Multiplication in 2s, 5s and 10s
  • sequencing and number bonds
  • completing 2 step questions and problem sums


It’s quite a fair bit but all these are tested during the 1st semester of  Primary one so I have two years to get Doggie Boy ready before he gets to Primary one.

If you missed the earlier parts here are the links to them

Part 1- The Registration

Part 2- Meeting Expectations

Preparing for Primary One- Meeting Expectations

Photo by Photoxpress

Now that you are aware of the registration process it’s time to do a check to see if your child has met the requirements for a smooth transition to primary school.

As a primary one student they are expected to be able to do the following

  • take pride of their own attire and belongings.
  • raise their hands and ask questions
  • feed themselves during recess and go to toilet on their own.
  • communicate with their teachers and peers.
  • work together as a team and individually.
  • follow instructions and carry out tasks assigned to them.

Academic Challenges

Even though many schools have done away with the formal semestral examinations in Primary one and two, they are replaced by byte size assessments carried out all through the year. I personally find this  more tiring and difficult for the child. He has to ensure that his grades doesn’t slip for all subject as marks are taken from every single assessment carried out instead of just from one test/exam per semester.

I find that the new system expects the child to carry out continuous revision on his part and cramming last minute wouldn’t help. Every fortnight or so they are tested on a component I.e: Show and Tell, Composition etc and there are more tests to prepare for overall.

The past six months I have been doing daily and weekly revision with Monkey Boy.  When he returns home from school I would monitor him as he completes his homework and give him exercises as revision from the assessment book collection which we have at home.

If he is having difficulties in any particular component I would let him do additional worksheets or exercises which just focuses on his weak areas. I believe in having him fully understand each topic before moving on so that any queries or weaknesses are immediately addressed.

Even though he is having holidays at the moment but I’m still continuing with coaching him in composition writing for both English and Chinese as they will be having composition writing from next term onwards. I have to ensure that he is able to keep on track with the pace the teachers set in school or even be slightly ahead of school at this stage as they will be going at a faster pace once school re-opens.

Social Challenges

These six months I have learned quite a bit about my first born and adapting to the ” Big Boy School”.  He is able to socialize well with his peers but he has difficulty accepting others ideas and opinions during group discussions.  I guess that a part of it has to be due to the fact that he is the first born and had been used to getting his own way before his siblings come along. Another factor is that we as parents are more inclined to giving in to our kids when they are very young that they assume that they SHOULD get everything done their way.

It has been a learning process for him to get along and accept others and their opinions and not insisting on being the leader or dictating the direction the group should follow. I too have been learning how to guide him on how to express himself clearly while at the same time excepting others point of view. It is healthy to engage in discussions and have different points of view and he too has to know that his view may not be acceptable all the time. I guess that this is one of the areas which I still need to work closely on with Monkey Boy.

How do you get your child to meet up to expectations?