My son Ryan starts Primary 1 next year. Is he ready for Primary school? I’m not sure. If you ask me, Ryan is a fairly intelligent boy. He’s curious about things in life and always keen to learn more. But making the leap from pre-school to Primary school takes more than intelligence — there are many more things that a Primary school-going child has to know and grasp.
For one, in pre-school, there isn’t recess per se. But next year, Ryan will have to queue up for food with his peers, learn to wolf it down in time, and have sufficient time to play or pop by the library. Am I worried? No, he has to eventually learn some of these life skills. Am I going to coach him, so that he’s better prepared? You bet!
1. To read time
Explaining why 10.05am means the short hand pointing to 10 and the long hand to 1 is like teaching adults rocket science.
2. Understanding time (yes, different)
Knowing that recess time is at 9.45am is one thing. Knowing that after 20 minutes spent playing/reading means there is all of 10 mins left to queue up to get and eat your food is another.
3. Understand the concept of money
To get him to be able to know how much change he is supposed to get back from the canteen vendors. And also $0.50 can be put to better use than buying that eraser with a Lego character printed on it.
4. Learn more Chinese words
While he can read some basic Chinese characters, Ryan still cannot commit them to memory and write them out. There is some form of rote learning at the basic level of Mandarin — any language — unfortunately.
5. How to be neat
In every aspect — homework, turnout, hair. It says a lot about you. Plus, it's basic manners.
To teach him to take charge of his belongings. Replacing his ruler or eraser every other day is not a long-term solution.
I encourage my kid to be outspoken and express his views whenever required. But he needs to learn when to open his mouth — not when the teacher or his classmate is talking, for instance.