It is August and many parents just received their notification for the primary school application for children entering standard one for the first time in 2016 for Malaysian public schools. It is an exciting time, a new phase for parents and kids. So how do you make the transition from kindergarten to primary school for your child go smoothly? Here are a couple of things to think about.
1. Help Your Child To Visualize The Difference - Most children go to kindergarten housed at a double storey-terraced house corner unit. There are a couple which attend kindergarten at a school. Well, in that case you don't need to read this first point. However if your child has attended kindergarten at a small premise, do take your child to visit his or her new school a few times. You don't have to wait till the orientation day to do it.
The purpose of the visit is to talk to them about "big" school. Help them visualize that now they will have to walk from classroom to canteen to the toilet and back. This exercise will make it easier for children to get used to the much bigger premise. During orientation, children will be confused because all of a sudden there are so many teachers, students and parents hovering over them. So do these school visits privately if you can.
2. Questions And Answers - Initiate a question and answer session with your child. Let them ask as many questions as possible about school and answer them truthfully. Encourage them to talk to you about school. Get them to draw their new school. It might give you an inkling of what they are thinking.
3. Train Your Child - Make sure your child is ready by training them. There are many things to train. For example, the school toilet may be different from the ones used at home. Make sure they know how to go to a squatting toilet for example if the school has that and your home does not. Train them to open food containers, tear open food wrappers, use a chopstick, crack an egg.
Seriously, I have seen many children sitting around looking totally lost because they did not know how to crack the hard boiled egg that the school served. Try to anticipate all the things that they may need to do and train them well. Make sure they are well equipped with school readiness skills.
4. Be Positive - Do not show them that you are worried about them being able to cope. Your worries will transfer over to them. Always be positive when talking about school. There are many things to be happy and positive about. There will be much more space to run about. Kids will learn independence in buying food, taking transportation home, making new friends.
5. Educate Your Child - Teach them about road safety and stranger awareness if they are taking a school bus or van. Teach them how to handle money if they are not bringing food from home. Role play or let them practise buying and receiving change. Teach them how to tell the time and let them understand that schooling hours may be longer and different from kindergarten hours.
Lastly, take them shopping for school stuff. Make going to school exciting by letting them choose their own bags, stationery, uniforms and maybe a watch for telling time. Enjoy the whole process together with your child. It is only going to happen once. Even if you have several children, it is only going to happen just once with each child.
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