Guide Series: Preschoolers starting primary 1

starting P1

This guide provides comprehensive  Information on Preschoolers starting Primary 1.

Is your preschooler starting Primary 1? Prepare them well for a smooth ride

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Starting Primary 1 is a significant milestone for your child as they transition into a new environment where everything else is alien to them.

If preschoolers are not well-prepared for the transition, it can be a terrifying experience, negatively impacting their emotions and academic performance. 

So, how can you make starting P1 in Singapore a fun adventure for your child?Guide Series: Preschoolers starting primary 1

The journey from preschool to starting Primary 1

As parents, we play a vital role in assuring our preschoolers as they step up from preschool to primary school. Seeing your child starting primary 1 brings up mixed feelings of excitement, anticipation, and nervousness.

As a mom who experienced this process thrice, these mixed emotions dawned on me as early as during the P1 registration exercise. It might sound exaggerated, but it reminded me that my baby is now becoming a big boy! 

Some of you might be asking: What is a P1 registration exercise?

Primary 1 registration is a process to register your child for mainstream primary schools in the following year. While primary school education is compulsory for all Singapore Citizens (SC), the P1 registration process also applies to Permanent Residents (PR) and international students. This process has several phases, each with its own set of eligibility requirements.

You can read more about P1 Registration process on the MOE website here

You will be notified of the result via SMS on specific dates based on your application phase. And now, it is time to breathe and celebrate if you have secured a place in the primary school of your choice!

How to gear up preschoolers for starting primary 1?

When preschoolers start Primary 1, there are so many sudden changes that their minds can be overwhelmed to cope with the stress. 

One of the significant challenges is the structured routine. Being punctual and adhering to timetables are some ground rules your preschooler is expected to follow. The school starts at 7.30 am and finishes at  1.10 pm – 1.30 pm, depending on the respective schools, with a fixed timetable to follow. 

Here are several ways you can help prepare preschoolers for starting primary one. 

Develop independence

It is common to feel insecure and fearful when preschoolers start Primary 1. 

Encourage your child to develop personal responsibilities such as tidying the bed and organizing their belongings. By letting them feel capable of handling responsibilities, you educate them to adjust their emotions and expectations to adapt. This will reduce separation anxiety significantly. 

To help motivate students to be independent and acquire lifelong skills, schools are now incorporating growth mindset lessons into the timetable. 

Establish routines

Routines are essential for forming long-term good habits in preschoolers. It helps their overall well-being and allows them to manage expectations better. 

When starting Primary 1, your child will have to wake up at a consistent time every morning, have breakfast, and be in school on time. If your child is used to staying up late, imagine the struggle you will face every morning to get them to school on time. 

Develop social skills

Engage your child in activities at the playground or in the community. Have them join the other kids playing at the roundabout or take turns sliding down the slide. Supervision is important during play but avoid controlling (or screaming after) them when they are having fun with the others.

The ability to interact and initiate conversations with others and foster friendships with others builds preschoolers’ confidence to make new friends when starting Primary 1. 

Foster a love of learning

I always say that the library is the best place to improve general knowledge. You can’t find thousands of books of different genres anywhere else. In addition, if you’re seeking adventure, there’s no question that the Singapore Science Centre and Singapore ArtScience Museum are wonderful kid-friendly places to discover new information and do some hands-on experiments.

Talk about school

It would help if you regularly discussed school with your child once they reach K2. Share your primary school experiences with them, including the games you played and the humorous things you did. Make the topics about starting primary 1 fun and engaging so they understand that school isn’t a dreary place. 

Money management

This is a major concern for every parent, and I can vouch for it. 

It is during recess that things get the most chaotic. Kids get anxious when they have to deal with money on their own to buy food. To reduce your child’s anxiety, educate them about coins and their values when they are still in preschool. To learn more about how to teach your child money management, Read our Article Preschoolers & money management – Fun ways to teach money sense to tots.

Visit the school

Parents can attend a few Open Houses with their children to learn about primary school culture in Singapore. As a part of the preschool program, preschoolers also attend school trips to primary schools where they can become familiar with the environment of the schooling system. Even if the child does not attend the primary school they visited, familiarity with the big school and its environment will reduce their anxiety when they start P1. 

Starting Primary 1 is a fun experience both for parents and preschoolers

How do you know that it is The Big Day? 

When you see your social media feeds flooded with parents excitedly showing off their cute, smiling children in oversized uniforms, all ready for school. It is a moment of pride and joy to see their preschoolers being little grown-ups, and naturally, everyone wants to document and celebrate this new milestone.

Remember that while building the right developmental blocks is key to preparing preschoolers for starting primary one, everything is a new experience for everyone. Starting P1 in Singapore is filled with new friends, teachers, and activities and can be overwhelming no matter how much you prepare your preschooler for it. 

So, give your child two thumbs up and a big hug before they enter the school, and constantly reassure them that new friends await them! 

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A millennial content writer who is a mom to three growing-up boys and 2 dogs. Like my teenager going through puberty, I am always hungry – for knowledge and food. To replenish my endless need for energy, several cups of coffee a day and snacks are a must-have. Yes, I’m a snack enthusiast – my closest pals will happily vouch that I can’t resist those delectable Kueh Kuehs. When I’m not in writer mode, I’m out training my pup for professional dog agility competitions or embarking on tasty adventures to discover hidden food treasures all over Singapore.

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