Last night was the Primary 1 induction night for all the parents of children who will be starting P1 after the summer holidays. That includes yours truly.
As the head teacher wryly acknowledged last night, the transition from Nursery to P1 can be exciting and a little scary for our children but by and large, they are fine because they are used to the school setting and teachers. It's really us PARENTS who have the heebie-jeebies.
And she's right. Connor can't wait to go to "big boy school". He has no qualms about it. I, on the other hand, am fretting about his readiness. Can he hold a pencil correctly? Will he be able to understand what's going on in school? How will he fare vs his older peers as he will be almost a year younger than some of his classmates? I am so glad we got his speech therapy sorted out while we were in KL because his Nursery teacher says he's talking and communicating fine and she doesn't see any problems with that. Will he sit down and eat his lunch? SO many questions!
So schools in UK have Induction Nights where anxious parents of soon-to-be P1 kids are taken through what awaits their precious ones in school. Teachers and staff are on hand to answer any questions we may have.
In Connor's school, the Nursery kids will be given taster sessions of P1. They will join P1 classes over this term so that they can get a feel of it. Activity packs and homework will be given. Samples of the packs were available for us to inspect and I had a look at some for writing. One pack had a piece of paper with several chunky crayons in it and the child was asked to write the letter M in various sizes and colours. After that, the child had to evaluate which M they liked the most. Also included in the evaluation sheet was a section for the parent to comment on the activity. Looks like Mummy's getting homework too.
We then took a look at the term activity for the P1 class we were sitting in. This term, they were organising a circus and there was a circus tent in one corner, a ticket booth in another. Actually they were learning words, numbers, colours, shapes etc... and the circus bit was just a ploy. But at the end of the year, they get to have a Circus Day and all the parents come in and charged an entrance fee to watch. Cool or what. I didn't have that in Darjah Satu when I was in primary school!
After looking at the activities children are supposed to do in P1, I'm a bit more relaxed. For example, Connor has taught himself quite a bit of phonics off this app I downloaded on the iPad and that's similar to what they're teaching in P1. It's quite amusing to be woken up by a 4yo in the morning and to be told, "Mummy, I want a kiss. K is for kiss. K-k-k-k-kiss!"
He already knows his numbers and is doing some writing, all stuff they will be doing in P1. Connor's biggest problem is his lack of discipline in class. Unfortunately, he's inherited some of my less desirable personality traits. One of them is the tendency to try and get away with it. Some children just don't have that trait, they're just naturally obedient and good. I wasn't. And he isn't.
We parents all went home with an info pack to read. I really appreciate that they did this as it's really made me feel more at ease about P1. I don't know if the international/private schools in Malaysia do this as well.
I've been told by more experienced parents that the school also organises a School Lunch night where parents are invited to come in and try the school meals that our kids will be eating should they choose to buy school meals. I tell you what - I've been to the school when they're preparing the meals and it usually smells really good so I can't wait!
I believe the curriculum used by the British-based international and private schools in Malaysia are similar so if any of you are wondering what a P1 child is supposed to do, this might give you an idea.