Monday, November 23, 2015

Prepping for P1: School Orientation Experience

Last Saturday, we went down to my alma mater for Lil Pumpkin's Primary 1 school orientation!! It was all very exciting and informational. Everything ran smoothly like a well-oiled machine and it was hardly as time-consuming and chaotic as I thought it might be.

Orientation was supposed to be from 9 - 11.30am and we reached there about 8.45am. A crowd was already forming and as soon as we registered Lil Pumpkin, she was whisked away by some teachers to join the other p1-to-be kids for their own school tour and program to get to know the teachers and new classmates. I'm glad that we'd prepped Lil Pumpkin to give a mini self-intro of herself hehe.

Having the little ones away was a fantastic arrangement so that the parents didn't have to worry about tending to them and could fully concentrate on the school briefing on things to take note for the first few weeks of school, transport / traffic arrangements, parent volunteering, Co-Curricular Activities {CCAs} etc. as well as chat with other parents.

It was very heartwarming to hear the school principal talk about my alma mater's mission and vision to mould the little girls into women of substance and stature in a very complex world susceptible to unpredictable change. Beyond academic achievements, the school focuses on giving a holistic education and I'm glad that throughout all these years, every single school teacher and staff has kept to that. I noticed that quite a few of my old teachers were still around too!

This is the kind of education I want Lil Pumpkin to enjoy and I can't wait for her to join this sisterhood and have her own meaningful schooling experience in my alma mater *beams*

After the briefing we had a chance to visit Lil Pumpkin's new classroom and finish up some administrative tasks.

I love that her new classroom is so spacious and airy! When I showed this photo to some of my old school friends, they asked if these were the same tables and chairs we used as kids haha. I don't think so??! I mean, they are still in pretty good condition so I guess they must be relatively new (´ω`)ノ

We were informed by her teachers that the kids will be keeping most of their books in class {MUST. LABEL. EVERYTHING.} so that they don't have to worry about forgetting books and lug them to school and back home. That's a real luxury we didn't have during my time!

With textbooks kept in class, I wondered about the need for revision and reading ahead to prep for new study topics but I guess in P1 they don't have to?? We'll see how the system goes when school starts. Anyway I'm glad that Lil Pumpkin doesn't need to carry a heavy load to school each day too. Big schoolbags are a thing of the past now! #phew

While I was filling up some forms, the boy went to get the required school books and supplies to save us some time.

To facilitate the huge crowd, her school bookshop operated from a classroom that day and other than the things in the bookl ist, they sold assessment books, ergonomic school bags, pens, files, and even shoes!

The bookshop is managed by Pacific Bookstores so if your school is by this same provider, don't worry if you don't have the schoolbags or any school supplies yet. You can get them during orientation. It was a real breeze getting everything on the book list because they are all prepacked into a box! The boy told me that all you have to do is queue to pay for the box. After that, you just move on to another counter to either remove things you don't need, or add on other supplies you want and get back / make up the monetary difference.

They also make name stamps and name stickers for the kids!! So convenient and these are pretty much a must-have nowadays as mentioned by other parents in my 20 Tips for Kids Entering P1 list.

The name stamps start from S$5 and name stickers from S$2 for 24 pieces. The stickers may not be as well-made or lasting as those from Stickerkid or Bright Star Kids, but they are definitely wayyyy cheaper and have a wider range of Disney character prints.

The school uniform vendors were set up in the canteen. They accepted card and cash payment.

We'd already bought Lil Pumpkin's school uniforms from Bibi & Baba earlier this month so didn't have to worry about that but if you do need to get them during orientation, I suggest waiting for about an hour after the orientation ends so that there's less of a crowd and you can get your kids to try on the uniforms for sizes in relative peace.

Since it was the weekend, the main food stalls weren't open but the snacks and drink stalls were. We let Lil Pumpkin buy her own food from the stalls by herself (♥◕ฺ∀◕ฺ)

I like that all the snacks and drinks had prices clearly marked out. Took the time to check out the prices at the rest of the main food stalls too. Wow prices have certainly increased since my time when noodles only cost S$0.50/bowl and S$0.20 could get me a packet of Chickadees or Mamee snack haha.

Food prices for main meals in her canteen ranges from S$0.80 - S$1.50, drinks are S$0.50 - S$1.30 and fruits are S$0.30 - S$0.50. The school recommends giving the kid S$2/day if they are buying food from school during recess.

For the first 2 weeks, there will be a P5 buddy to help guide the P1 kids in the canteen system. We'd encourage her to buy food then to get some practice with a mentor while she can but after that, I intend to prepare an obento {see over 50 obento ideas here} for her as her recess is only 30 mins long and at least for the first part of the year, she probably won't be used to the system and have enough time to eat after going to the toilet, queuing, finding a seat to eat etc. She'd still have pocket money though just in case she does want to buy food.

However when I asked her, she said she preferred if I packed food for her too.... more time for her to eat fast and play with friends! (●→‿ฺ←●)

This is the big "goodie box" of her P1 books for both semester 1 & 2, and supplies. The cost might differ from school to school based on what's in the book list, but all in we spent about S$200 because we bought extra exercise books too. If you don't want to buy during orientation and carry it home, you can also order online from Pacific Bookstores website and have it delivered.

The site is usually ready in early November, which is before most P1 school orientation dates. If you know that they are your kids' school bookshop operator, you can check their website for the book list and need not wait for the school to give it to you. But please confirm with the school first if you can do this in case there's any changes! 

I made sure the boy opened up to check that each and every book that was in the booklist was properly included haha.

It might be cheaper? to get her art and stationery supplies required in the book list outside, but we bought them all together for convenience sake since they were all already pre-packed.

Oh the P1-to-be kids were also given a lovely book published by the Ministry of Education {MOE} filled with tips and fun activities to prep them for their new journey ahead! So so helpful and something I know that she'd love to work on for the rest of the holidays ♥

I feel much more prepared now for her P1 journey after attending the school orientation. Lil Pumpkin, on the other hand, is even more excited to start school and can't wait for January to come!! I hope her enthusiasm for school lasts for a long, long time haha.

Let me know how your P1 orientation experience went too! ( ^_^)/

 20 How to Choose Shoes for Kids Tips, and 20 Ways For Kids to Learn Chinese

For more of  Lil Pumpkin's Primary School journey:
For tips on P1 preparation:


Theresa Mahoney said...

It sounds like orientation was a success for both parents and students! I do love how spacious those rooms look as well! Good luck in your new classes this January, Lil Pumpkin!!!

Stacy said...

Wow that canteen looks like a fancy mall food court!

The tables and chairs look like those at college. Hmm I wonder if wooden tables and chairs are still used at schools here.

(Look at lil pumpkin's pout on the first pic. Sure reminds me of somebody)

Unknown said...

Even though they leave books in school, I find that their P1 schoolbags are still very heavy! Hopefully hers are different - let us know a few weeks into term how it is!

Here's to the start of a great adventure! :)

An Apel a Day said...

Her stuff looks so much more fun than in the US. Everything looks so clean, and up to date. The worksheets are cute!

mail4rosey said...

That'sso well organized and thought out. I love that they had an orientation for the kids too. :)

Cascia Talbert said...

It looks like a wonderful school! Good luck to her.

Susan said...

Watching our girls go for their Pri 1 orientation is such a bitter sweet experience as we watch them grow and we have to let go. It's no doubt going to be a new stage for them and may they enjoy this new learning journey :)