Settling into Primary School

Almost two terms have passed since the start of the new school year! In another month, students will soon be having their June holidays. For many Primary 1 students, these past few months may have been quite overwhelming and fast-paced as they learn to adapt to the school environment. Understandably, parents would also be concerned to see how their child is coping with the transition from pre-school to primary school. Aside from encountering new topics in class, Primary 1 students have also had to learn new life skills; from frequently interacting with their classmates and teachers for homework and group projects, to ordering food in the canteen during recess.

Primary school education in Singapore emphasises holistic development based on three key areas: subject-based learning, knowledge skills and character development. For some children, they may also require a longer time to settle into a new environment. If your child is still trying to adjust to the new environment, here are a few tips that you, as parents, can use at home to help them ease into their school schedule and get the best out of their primary school years:

Tips to settle into primary school

  1. Review their routine

There are many things for a child to absorb as they navigate through primary school, and it is always good to take a step back to review the pros and cons of your child’s schedule. Does your child get enough time to rest after school? Are they able to complete their homework on time? Identifying areas where their daily routine can be improved is a good way to teach them the importance of time management.

School can be tiresome for young children. After a whole day of learning, it would be good to allow them some downtime at home to be at rest or at play, before they get started on their homework. This helps them to tackle their school work with a fresher mind.

2. Run through class content

There are many new topics that your child will have to learn in primary school. Take some time to go through their lessons with them and ask them if there are any topics that they are struggling with, be it English, Mathematics or Mother Tongue. This helps both you and your child to have a clearer picture of what is taught in class, and also helps you to be aware of your child’s needs.

3. Set up a study area at home

Having a clear, designated space in the house for completing school work can help your child to focus better. Be it in the living room or in their own room, having space that is conducive for their studies would minimise distractions and help them complete their school work faster. Make sure that their workspace has good lighting and is free from clutter.

4. Be engaged

Outside of school work, your child may have other worries that they may wish to speak to you about. Be open and let them know that they can approach you, not only regarding their homework, but with issues regarding their classmates and friends as well.

At the same time, let your child know that because you won’t be able to be with them all the time, it is important for them to learn how to communicate their worries with their teachers in school too. This teaches them to be open and independent about voicing their concerns.

Learning to let go

As much as these tips encourage parents to be more engaged with their child’s education, it is also important for parents to realise that their child is learning to be independent and will be starting to make their own decisions at school. As such, while these tips are a guide for parents, ultimately, your child will have to learn to take ownership of their learning in school. Parents can start introducing simple tasks for their child; such as getting them to pack their own bags before class, or to keep their worksheets in a neat file.

Settling into a new environment is never easy, and it is all the more so for young children who are still learning to adapt to the demands of formal education. Hence, it is important for parents to take the time out of their day to review their progress and identify the areas that you can help your child with. With lots of love and encouragement, your child will soon be able to have more confidence in school!