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Friday, January 09, 2009

Primary School Orientation for Standard One Students

This is a belated post as I have been too busy to publish any blog post. In fact, the next few posts are all belated posts too. I have all these blog posts stuck somewhere in my head. Haha.

We attended school orientation for the girl who is in Standard One in a Chinese School this year. The orientation was over two days. The parents are separated from the kids. The kids have their own orientation and the parents attend talks, fill up forms and pay fees.

The first day was mainly talks by the heads of school and teachers. 4 hours of talks in Mandarin! Fortunately I could understand about 70% of it. Hubby could only understand about 1%. It was quite tiring to have to sit through 4 hours of talks in Mandarin. Phew!

The second day we had to fill up forms and pay fees. School fees and books came up to RM350. Ouch! Oh and we musn't forget about the donations must we. We're in a Chinese School. During the talks the head reminded us that we are a government assisted school not a fully funded one, so parents have to pay for electricity bills, maintenance and expansion etc. Hence, the frequent requests for donations.

When handing up forms the class teacher asked us upfront for the donation forms. The lady in front of me mumbled that she didn't have it ready. "Bring it on Monday then" said the teacher. Another mother came to me and asked me to translate the form to her. "Sorry, I don't understand it too and was just about to ask the teacher", I told her. I saw a few people donating RM50 to RM100 so we also followed. Ouch again!

The parents sat in a classroom to fill up the forms. We all looked like we were taking an important test and it felt that way too. We were all anxious. Hahaha. One thing I noticed. Form filling appears to be the mother's job. The mothers sat down and filled up the forms patiently while the dads gathered around in groups and chatted!

During orientation, my girl did shed some silent tears. I saw her eyes were red but she held back her tears and tried to be brave. "I don't like the school. I don't like the teachers. I don't understand what they are saying." she said.

On the second day, we were told to give the kids a dollar to buy food stuff at the canteen. She was happy with that. She bought a packet of fishballs which costs a dollar, using up all her one dollar allocation. :)

However, we decided to cater food for her to help her settle in easier. The school canteen is not very big. During recess which is broken up into two sessions, half the school will rush to buy food. The older ones have no problem but the little ones have to fight in the queue and by the time they get to buy their food, recess is over.

With catered food, all she needs to do is go to the same place with her name and number or it each day and eat whatever is offered for the day. She can learn to buy food and fight for a place to sit later on, all in good time but there is no need for me to rush to teach her too many things for now during this transition period from small school to big school, from English to Mandarin.

I'll write about their first week at school next week.


  1. Never know that even Chinese school in the same city also differs in fees. My girl's school fees cost only RM270 in total, including the non compulsory fees. No donations were asked.

    For catering, they served the food in a special area with the kid's name on the seat, so no need to rush and fight.

  2. Elaine,
    The itemised list of fees and books was so long, I didn't even have time to look at it in detail. Just paid and didn't even get a receipt or anything.

  3. Wow, I can imagine what your girl feel about hearing a too long conversation in Chinese, maybe from now on you should speak also Chinese to her and preparing for the boy too if you want him go to the same school.
    This month I'll busy to pick which elementary school too for Ian. He had already past the 1st school enrollment test on Dec, but I still need another school ... maybe the test will be next week.
    Good luck MG for this busiest month :)

  4. Hey, you are really not bad to be able to understand 70%. When I first started with No1, I couldn't understand a thing! As for the donation, we were asked to pay RM100 on the spot.

  5. henny,
    I can't speak Mandarin. :P

    Walaueh, told to pay RM100 on the spot ah?


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