Monday, June 2, 2014

off to school!!

its been a a month since blake started school! its kinda crazy and heartbreaking but we always knew we wanted him to start school early. not so he get get ahead in life but more for social interaction. also, during one of our school tours, he joined the end of a line and waved bye to us. so i guess this decision is pretty much child-led! :) 

calling it "(pre)school" is really an exaggeration. its not like they learn anything serious. so its more a fancy babysitting service. and even when blake was in the tummy, people started asking if we've put him in waiting lists (same case for primary school registration!) and we didn't. in fact, i thought i was being extremely diligent by starting the search after he turned one. only to find out that popular schools have been filled up with a massive waitlist!! and some schools have parents camping overnight outside the compounds so they can get a spot in school. 

seriously... what's up with that!


we are not the first parents with a pre-schooler so no advice here.
but here are a few things we learnt along the way ::

one - your child's personality. i believe each different child responds different to their environment. knowing what works best for your child would help narrow down your choices very quickly. we have a little friend who needs to be swaddled and rocked to sleep. and so that was her most basic requirement!! as for us, blake needs physical stimulation. he is unable to sit still and needs the space and play-based learning activities. 

two - priorities. our priorities are a loving environment and proximity to home. we are less fussed about the menu and curriculum the school offers. if he learns anything in school, that's a bonus. so, we were sure to keep tabs on how happy the children looked in school.

three - enrichment classes. this might sound like a weird one but its common for kiddies in singapore to go for some form of enrichment classes. each school we "interview", i ask if enrichment is necessary for the child. we naturally eliminate the school that told us point-blank that enrichment classes are expected. firstly, after spending (what i consider to be) a huge chunk of time in his day in school, the last thing i want is to lose playtime to extra classes. 

four - each school has their own selling point! playgym, computer class, art, swimming lessons.... our close friend goes to a pure mandarin program and another pal chose an art-focused school. i nearly picked a school for their school uniform but a more sensible daniel was keen on a preschool that has a strong emphasis on sport and japanese. 

five - no one school can tick all the boxes. lol i need to get this tattooed on my arm. because i keep finding the imperfections in each school and forgetting that it's just PLAYschool! and that we are still going to be the biggest influence in his life even after he starts school. if he picks up a few friends or finds a teacher who loves him, great. and if not, he can always come marching right home into the arms of his papa and mama. 

anywhoderoos, we did our due dilligence and went to a tonne of different schools before we shortlisted a few. i found myself sitting cross-legged on the floor with a MASSIVE pile of kindy brochures drawing excel spreadsheets of plus and minuses for each school. i had to take a picture and send it to my girlfriends. it was such a crazy mommy moment. 

p.s. day one in school was insane. i'd plan to linger around to ease him into the system. but he spotted his pals and told me "bye bye, mama. see you." i sat around for an hour, feeling completely clingy, before i left.

and that was it. it was such a "blake" way to kick start his school days. so straightforward and absolutely no drama!!



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