Tag Archives: p1

Uniform party

It was interesting for the school to initiate an uniform party for the kids. Post concert, I thought the school had done a very good job in introducing primary school life to the children. 

There were videos, worksheets and scenarios for them to think about how to react when certain situations arose in primary school.

The kids were also treated to games, puzzles and riddles. Z would bring the questions back and quiz us! 

My dear boy was really sweet. He kept telling me how sad he felt whenever he thought about graduation and not seeing his friends. We had a rather sensitive boy who treasured happy times with his friends very much, not unlike me! Otherwise, I would not have been so hardworking to record all these precious moments on the blog!

Playing at the party   

Enjoying the party meal
 

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Pocket money box

I saw a few parenting blogs sharing this concept and decided to make my own.

There were a few versions but I decided 5 compartments should be sufficient for us. 

“Beautified” with my decoration    
We had to make 2, one for each boy 

 
Coins galore! 

Most blogs cited that this helped the parents as we only needed to pack the money once a week.

It also promoted transparency of usage. I told Z that he should take the money on a daily basis and returned the balance to the corresponding compartment. At the end of the week, we would tabulate to see the total savings. He could use the savings to buy anything that he wanted*.

I would probably get a notebook for him to record the expenditure and sign off the weekly savings.

Z was quite excited with the system. We shall see how that worked out for us.

* denoted that he required approval from us.

Leading up to school opening

In early Nov, I received my labels and went ahead to wrap Z’s books. We had purchased the books partially on 26 Oct and the balance by 6 Nov.

We had ready plastic covers for most and had to wrap a few manually due to their odd sizes.

Part of the stash (and loving the 50pc for $2.90 labels from Qoo10 very much)  
It took us an hour to settle all book-related items and pack the necessary items for the first 3 days of school. I also sharpened the pencils, checked on the stationery and ensured everything was in working order.

Bag tags from MUAKids  
We had also washed the uniforms.

All we had left to do were:

1. Iron cloth labels on uniforms, socks & tie (done)

  
2. Label shoes (done)

  
3. Buy a school bag (yes, after all that shopping, we had yet to decide)

4. Buy new hangers for uniforms – 3 for $2 from Daiso  (done)

5. Iron the uniforms (done)

6. Complete the P1 activity book

7. Play dates with classmates-to-be (done)

8. Complete the ice cream stick 

9. Buy the daily pill box and use as allowance dispenser (done)

10. Add in a box of colour pencils (done)

 

Z’s orientation day

It was Z’s second visit to the school after Admin day. It started at 9am and we reached at 840am. There was still ample space for parking.

After collecting the name tag (which indicated the class) and some documents, we went up to the school hall. It had been a long time since I visited a primary school hall. The last time was easily 14 years ago when I was a relief teacher. I was surprised by the air-conditioned hall. 

Sitting with his class
We were greeted with videos and opening performances before the principal and his management team spoke to us. I liked the values they extolled. I really enjoyed the presentation and the kids were led to their classrooms.

Everyone in the hall laughed out out when the principal talked about how he knew it was not the children’s fault if they were late for school. He urged all parents to buffer sufficient time to drop of the kids and reduce their stress and anxiety. Valid & fair statement, especially when I had first hand experience.

In particular, I was impressed when he talked about birthday parties and the sensitivity of the situation. I could understand why Mr H always spoke so proudly of his Alma mater on how strong they were in character building. 

The principal also talked about how we should not pass forgotten items to the children through the school. Even though he was aware that forgetting to bring the items may not be the child’s fault, it would serve as a learning process for the child for them to remind us. That resonated with me totally

Overall, I was impressed with the clarity and information given at the orientation, except it would have been perfect if we were given the timetable. We were only given what to pack for the first 3 days.

Meanwhile, Z had an interesting activity where the kids were given a kit comprising of some meaningful items. There was a packet of tissue paper for them to wipe their friends’ tears with, an eraser to signify that it was alright to make mistakes and more. There was an instruction sheet for us to recap with the children too. 

Lockers in school (which obviously was a novel concept for a new mom of a primary school going child)


The lockers were great for storing books and the school mentioned they would keep as many books in school as possible. They reminded us to get a school bag that fitted the child instead of one that would engulf the child.

 Spacious classroom for 30 persons 

By 1130am, we were allowed to roam the fair. The vendors were selling uniforms, books, bags and shoes. There was a long queue for uniforms but the queue for books moved very fast.

There were also queues for people who has to settle school bus and student care.

Selling Dr Kong & Impact bags  

We also managed to pick up the balance of our school list easily. It was pre-packed neatly so there was almost no queue.

 The box  

Inside the box

 

Separately, there was even an activity book to introduce primary school life to the kids.

All in all, the induction to primary school had been well planned out. Hope I remained a happy parent in a year’s time too.    

Change of habits 

Mr H was surprised that Z did not bathe in school. Z explained that he had bathed at home in the morning. It was the second consecutive morning that he bathed at home before going to school. He had never done that. We usually had to drag a sleepy boy out of bed who would snooze over breakfast.

When he did that the day earlier, I thought it was because he had an offsite rehearsal. When he repeated for the second day despite being in school the entire day, he gave us an explanation.

He was getting used to not being able to bathe in school as well as bathing in the morning, as a lead up to preparing for primary school. 

Mr H affirmed, “He went to bathe by himself this morning. I did not tell him to.”
Mr H and I were very impressed with his sensibility.

But hey, what a stark reminder that 6 years had crept up on us. Indeed, the days are long and the years are short.

Shopping for a school bag

The first step was to decide on a normal bag or an ergonomic (ergo) bag. There were many reasons supporting either school of thought.

I thought I would want to get a normal bag for these reasons – more funky designs, more sleek as ergo bags tend to be bulky & heavy, children could leave some items in school as it was single session. Most importantly, I had grown up using a normal bag and I turned out fine. I did not want to spend so much on a bag that Z could either destroy or lose easily. I also thought it was really overprotective to get an ergo bag.

I surveyed a few friends who had primary school going kids. Of course, there were 2 sides to a coin and it depended on what appealed. Some said normal bags would do. One of my long time friends explained her switch from a normal sport branded bag to ergo bag. It warranted further shopping.

The second step was to understand the various ergo brands available in Singapore – Impact, Deuter Smart/Genius, SPI, LegoDr Kong, Totem, Ergobag and probably more. 

1. Kiddy Palace Marina Square – Impact (also heard that it was available at Ergoworks, some Popular stores & school bookshops)

Relatively “more affordable”    
  

First Impact bag $79.90 – I thought the size was good but I didn’t like the design. It came with the shoulder clasp.  

Second Impact bag –  seemed rather big and straps were adjustable 
  

2. Scool Marina Square – Totem, Ergobag

This Ergobag was 1.1kg. Usual SRP was $249 but on promotion at $199. It came with a waist belt and matching accessories.  

Totem which came with no shoulder or waist belts, at 990g cost more than $300 

To be honest, both brands felt bulky and uncomfortable. However, Z liked the Ergobag which I suspected was for the funky prints.

3. Takashimaya – SPI & Lego (also found at Kinderfun United Square & Centrepoint)

I did not let Z try SPI because I did not like the materials. I had mistaken Lego ergonomic bags to be “SPI X Lego” but it was wrong. Lego ergonomic bags were just another range of ergonomic bags carried by Kinderfun.

Lego Starter $139, 675g. Capacity was 19 liters.   

X carried the Lego Starter & Z carried the Lego Starter Plus (a larger version: Dimensions were 40cm H X 29cm W X 19cm D) for comparison (19liters vs 24 liters) 

Lego Ultimate $169 – it was hard case and weighed 0.99kg before putting anything in. Capacity was 21 liters. Dimensions were  36cm H X 28cm W X 20cm D.

It was so bulky that I was going to rule it out, as with Totem & Ergobag. 

Then I put 1.2kg of water in both Lego bags to test. To my surprise, the latter felt lighter on the shoulders. It meant I had to revisit Ergobag but Ergobag’s buckle was not as easy to use as Lego. The Lego Ultimate also came with a better, hard & waterproof base. 

It impressed me enough to return for a second test with 2.5kg of “weights”. 

Trying again with the detachable gym bag   

Spects of the bag  

Test with 2.5kg weights – very comfortable. Ranked #1 on my list, though Kinderfun explained this was for taller (1.3m) and fleshier kids as the hard base could hit the lower backs when children ran with the bag.

SPI – some cute model  

Test with 2.5kg weights – it still felt very heavy and the shoulder straps were uncomfortable.

SPI Active Premium L 

Test with 2.5kg weights – it felt alright but not amazing. The bag was too big for Z too. 

4. Online – Herlitz  

I came across this while researching online. It sounded really good but the problem was we would not be able to try. The style seemed similar to the Lego Ultimate and it was also a German brand. The dimensions of 36.5cm – 37.5cm for large size sounded alright.

The base didn’t seem as impressive as Lego Ultimate. I also read on KP forum that the bag weighed 1.3kg and was made in China, according to information listed on Amazon UK. The down side was – I wouldn’t be able to see or try in person. Hence, I would rule this out.

   
4.Isetan / Kiddy Palace Toa Payoh – Deuter  

Image from Scool’s website 

Based on the dimensions, S size would work better for Z. However, the capacity was surprisingly lower than lego. Deuter Smart S’ capacity was 14 liters but it was taller than Lego Starter which could hold 18 liters.

Deuter Smart S – Capacity at 14liters was very low. The width of the bag was too narrow. It could fit the L-shaped A4 file but that was about as wide as it could go.  

Deuter Smart M – it was slightly wider but way too long for Z’s current frame.
 

Test with 2.5kg weights – I could not test the full load because I could not fit in a A4 Hard Plastic file into the S bag. Based on whatever was put in, it did not feel comfortable and I still feel the weight on the shoulders. 

5. Ergo kid Wheelock – McMeil, Ergobag Soft Basic, Ergobag 2016 model 

Ergobag- 1.1kg, soft case, basic model at $198. Capacity was 23 liters. Dimensions were 40cm H X 26cm W X 22cm D.  

Test with 2.5kg weights – It was rather narrow but it was not rigid. We managed to squeeze the wide file in but the bag went out of shape. I could not comment on support since it was hanging oddly on Z.

Ergobag 2016 model -900g, hard case at $258 without accessories. Capacity was 23 liters. Dimensions were 40cm H X 28cm W X 22cm D.
Test with 2.5kg weights – The support was acceptable but the bag was too long and shoulder straps placed too close, so it felt rather tight.

McNeil – 1kg, hard case, $418. Capacity was 23 liters. Dimensions were 37.5cm H X 31.5cm W X 19cm D.  
  

Test with 2.5kg weights – The support was exceptional without the use of shoulder belt and waist belt. The buckle was easy to open and straps were easy to adjust. The back cushion was water repellent and would not absorb sweat. It was also the was the easiest bag to lift from the ground to carry because of there were no “complicated” straps. The SA could offer an additional 20% discount too.

6. Good old Nike – super light, non-ergonomic, $55. Dimensions were 39cm H X 28cm W X 15cm D. 

Test with 2.5kg weights – with the thick straps, though it was not ergonomic, the bag felt light and comfortable to carry. In fact, it was more comfortable than some of the tested ergo bags. However, the bag could not stand so I was not sure how it would pan out for assembly and classroom’s use.

6. One KM/Changi City Point/JEM – Dr Kong 

Dimensions of the bag in different sizes   
Carrying S size, $79


Carrying M size – too big for him 

 
Test with 2.5kg weights – The weight felt like it was still on the shoulders. I was not really keen to find out more. When Z tried the S size, we realized his shoulder belt was slanted. I thought we did not adjust the shoulder straps equally. Turned out that the stitching of the shoulder belt was lopsided. One side was higher than the other. It casted considerable doubts and I did not like the design. Hence, we left promptly after trying.

Verdict : Yet to buy !!

P1 Checklist

As Z would be heading off to Primary School soon, I took note of these tips when I saw them on a forum and advice from friends. Seeing how overwhelming the tips were and how much information overload could occur, we broke down the steps for Z and ourselves.

In splitting up the activities into 5 distinct steps, I hoped to reduce the stress for Z on the first day of school and at the same time, ensured that the basics were covered.

Activities

Part 1: Pre-administration day – Mid Oct

  1. Purchased School uniforms
    1. Shirt – size 12
    2. Shorts – size 24
    3. PE Tee – pre-order size 13
    4. PE Shorts – size 22
    5. Pre-order name badge
  2. Purchased School shoes
    1. Size 13 & 13.5
    2. Practice shoelace tying

Part 2: Administration Day – end Oct

  1. Dental consent form
  2. Particulars form
  3. Giro for monthly payment
  4. Book list, Bus services form & student care form

Part 3: Orientation Day – Early Nov

  1. Making friends
    1. Self-introduction
    2. Namecards
    3. Tokens
  2. Touring the Canteen & Bookshop
    1. Buy books (or order online)
    2. Check on school’s recess procedure (Buddy up with a P5 for 2 weeks)
    3. Buy School tie
  3. Tour school facilities
    1. Toilets
    2. Assembly area
    3. Classroom

Part 4: Before school starts

  1. Packing schoolbag
    1. Based on handbook
  2. Checking the School Diary
  3. Going through the MOE activity book
  4. Laying out school attire & socks
  5. Labelling of items
  6. Preparing a telephone card with several contacts for his wallet, file and bag
  7. Establishing the pocket money procedure
  8. Organizing a playdate with new classmates* if we have the contacts

Part 5: First day of school

  1. Making Friends
  2. Buying food
    1. Counting Money
    2. Type of wallet
    3. Speed of eating


Logistics:

  1. Uniforms
    1. 2 sets of uniforms
    2. 3 sets of PE attire
    3. 2 pairs of school socks with school emblem
    4. Embroidered name badge x 8 (to be sewn onto shirts & tees)
    5. 1 school tie (to buy from school)
    6. 2 pairs of school shoes
  2. Book list
  3. Essentials
    1. Schoolbag (to buy after book list)
    2. Water bottle with strap
    3. Wallet strap to attach to existing wallet
    4. Watch (remind him never to remove)
    5. New keychain (buy from Japan)
  4. Key stationeries
    1. Big pencil case
    2. Colour pencils
    3. Clear folders
    4. Multi-pocket file
    5. Plastic wrap for books
    6. Small Notebook
  5. Labels
    1. Iron-on dots for uniforms (existing stocks)
    2. Big sticker labels with contact information
    3. Medium sticker labels (existing stocks)
    4. Small sticker labels
    5. Shoe stickers
    6. Blank labels for files
    7. Name rubber stamp
    8. Fabric marker (recommended but I didn’t like how it would look, this would be my last option)

*Name stamp & simple stickers were ordered from Qoo10 seller (Luv Simplicity) at $11 and $2.90 for 50 large stickers respectively.

**Premium labels & Clothing stickers were ordered from MuaKids & utilized balance stocks from Stuck On You respectively.