Tag Archives: p1prep

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.

Gearing up for P1

1. Logistics – Following my posts on P1 preps, I guessed we had sorted out the necessities such as bag, books, uniforms, shoes and labelling from the very start. I had started shopping and preparing these in mid/late Oct and was sufficiently ready by mid Nov. Even if I had really missed out anything, it would be a case of ignorance, rather than a lack of consideration.

2. Academic – To me, as long as Z could read, write and talk, that was sufficient preparation for primary school. As long as he was consistent and knew that his primary role was to pay attention in school, we were really chill on that. I really wanted him to enjoy primary school for as long as he could before the grind of studying get to him.

3. EQ – Leveraging on TV programs which showcased primary school lives, real life stories of his older friends in primary school and our own experiences, we prepped Z on possible scenarios of making friends, bullying, thefts and tricky situations involving money.

Helping my son to make new friends within his class & school was probably the best gift I could prepare for his primary school. He now looked forward to seeing his new playmates at class.

Regarding money, I reiterated that he should not spend on unnecessary items such as snacks and sugary drinks which would make him fat, waste money and potentially make him fall sick. All savings would go towards his toys’ fund. He decided he would bring packet milo from home since it cost 60cents to buy from NTUC and 90cents to buy from school. In a serious manner, he asked if he had to pay the 60cents to me. My in laws suggested to him to bring sandwich to school and pocket the allowance wholly. 😂

I reminded him not to borrow money or buy stationery. I also prepped him on what happened if his friends wanted to borrow money and if he should lend money to friends who did not return money.

Alerting my son on the possibilities of meeting bullies got him to think about what to do if older kids try to take his money or beat him up. He discussed with us on what he should do and where he should run such as running to hide, or running to his friends, to the canteen vendors or the school’s office. He deduced that he ought to go to the office, inform the teacher and let his teacher inform the bully’s teacher, who might in turn inform the principal and who would make the decision if it should be reported to police. 😂

He was concerned about what if he was not able to buy food. I taught him to decide if he wanted to eat rice or noodles for the day. If he picked rice, then start thinking if he wanted Malay rice or Chicken rice. Z looked at me at said he wanted Nasi Lemak but was afraid of calling it by the wrong name. I assured him the canteen vendors would help him, so would his P5 buddy. He wondered if the canteen vendors would mistake him for a P2 and if the P5 buddy would help him till end of P1. 😂😂😂

He also asked if primary school teachers would be fierce and how he could make them like him. We had been having so many conversations on primary school since start of the year that I reckoned we had answered many of his doubts.

Getting ready for school 

Both Z & X would be starting new school on the same day. 

For Z, the learning curve of primary school was mitigated by his independence such as using toilets (since 2.5 years’ old), his awareness on managing money, his ability to read both English & Chinese comfortably and to have friends in the class. P1 was introduced in such a gradual manner that I did not think he would suffer culture shock.

I was only concerned by his eating speed. Seriously concerned. 

For X, the learning curve of preschool was made easier since it was a transition from one playgroup to another playgroup. Though it was to a different school, it was after all Z’s preschool and X was familiar with the environment. The teachers were also familiar with X. Furthermore, X was a Jan baby and that meant he was 3 when he joined the school. 

He was able to talk and would be able to communicate with his new teachers, as compared to Z who had been only 2 years and 1 week old, and was unable to communicate his needs.

If I had a concern, it would be if he missed his diaper friend in the old school or missed Z. I was not sure if he expected to see Z at the preschool though we had been telling him Kor kor was going to primary school. 

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.    

Z and Chinese 

The school had done such a fabulous job that he was pretty good in Hanyu Pin Yin. He was able to read Chinese books out loud too.

However, there was one aspect which I forgot.

Conversational Chinese.

Despite being able to read and write Chinese, his conversational Chinese was hesitant and unconfident.

I was very surprised. What a major blind spot it was.

Now we had to work on that. It was not as natural as we had limited vocabulary in our daily conversation but we all tried our best.

Earn your Nikes

We would typically say “Earn your stripes”. In this case, Z had to earn his Nikes by showing his dad that he was able to tie shoelaces on his own.

For the longest time, he was happy to lament that it was difficult. He did not want to try. 

The crunch came when we visited United Square a few day ago. Mr H said he could not buy new shoes till he was able to tie shoelaces on his own.

Z spent 2 days practicing on his own accord and finally got the hang of it.