In Singapore, primary school registration was probably the most exciting milestone after a child was borne.
We used to hear the Chinese fable “孟母三迁”. This saying was very applicable in modern times. It was nerve wrecking and nail biting for some families but a breeze for some.
I thought the most important thing was to understand the system, recognize your success-failure rates (probability), make sensible decisions and manage your own expectations.
On understanding the system, it would be good to know what Phase 1, 2A1 etc meant. The terms and conditions of each phase would change over time. You just had to check the MOE website or Kiasuparents forum for a layman explanation.
On probability, you should check the past year statistics on what were the trends for the different phases and distances to the school. You could google “elite name-of-school” and it would return detailed results of the school.
For a consolidated table of statistics, the Kiasuparent forum offered vast resources. I personally did not need that I was a kiasu parent for using the forum but it gave me good insights as to what to expect.
On expectations, with the past statistics in place, you would know if you were pitting against fierce competition for 20 seats or if you would be able to secure a confirmed placement, or if you wanted to absolve yourself of the stress.
Last but not least, the school culture should work for your child and your family. Whether the child would thrive in the environment, it would depend on the ease of making friends or finding like-minded friends and managing the schoolwork.
That being said, primary school registration for us was planned 4 years’ ago when we had moved from a smaller apartment to a larger apartment. We leveraged on our address and registered at Phase 2C via online registration. It took less than 2 minutes to key in our details on 28th July and we had to wait till 32st July for an update.
I was glad and thankful that the result was as per our expectation.