Thursday, 13 December 2012

Preparation for school - Part One

Finally Kah Yen is going to school!

I had a full taste of the difficulty of looking for a childcare center in Singapore. Before I had my own child I think people are crazy when they told me they start to hunt for childcare one year in advance, or even before the child was born! Now I think I will do the same for my second child and doesn't matter if you call me a "Kaisu" parent or not.

I only started to look for a childcare this year August after we confirmed we are buying a house in Punggol, Kah Yen was already 20-month old. I couldn't start earlier for I don't know where are we moving to and when. The timing was not perfect but I still have four months to hunt for a school if in order to send her next January. I thought it won't be that bad.

It was! Punggol is a new town. There are too many young families with children, too few childcare centers. After three months of calling, visiting and queueing, I only found two centers with vacancies. For some of the popular centers, my queue number in the waiting list is beyond 200, I think by the time they finally call me Kah Yen is well ready for primary one. For the two centers with vacancies, neither of them is a suitable choice, one is too far, the other one is over-priced. We are not looking for an IDEAL one, we just want a center that is nearby and within our budget.

I wrote a post about my idea of a good childcare center in August, I sounded like I was already an expert and had everything under control, but deep down in my heart, I was worrying, panicking, self-blaming and panicking again. Time is not on my side, AND, there is no plan B.

My panicking finally affected the husband, so much so that one day at work when he saw a center next to his office building, he walked right into it. And he fell in love with it instantly. Okay men don't really fall in love with something instantly like women do, they are not mushy as us, what I mean is, his first impression of the center was very good.

He has since visited the center twice and me once. Both of us liked it. The center has been there for 8 years. It is very near his office. The price is reasonable. The children look happy. They look like they are well-disciplined too. The teachers we spoke to are gentle and patient. The rooms are bright and spacious. It is right at the center of the heartland but yet it is secluded, away from all the noises and the traffic. The big playground in front of it is almost like the center's own. It is also right behind the library, so organized library trips are their pride.

At the start I was totally against bringing Kah Yen to near our offices. I am afraid the daily travelling is too much for Kah Yen, and there is constant pressure of knocking off on time. But after visiting the center, my mindset changed. Maybe travelling half an hour with Daddy each day is not a bad thing after all, a precious time for some Father-Daughter bonding. And while Daddy is in charge of picking her up, I can go back home straight after work to get dinner ready. Nobody needs to rush.

So last week I brought Kah Yen with me to the center to settle the registration, I was lucky they were preparing for their year end concert. With music and dancing going on, Kah Yen was able to relax and walk around the place on her own feet. Later Kah Yen sat on the floor with other kids to watch the rehearsal together, she looked like she is already one of them.

After we said goodbye to the kids and teachers, I asked her:

"Do you like school?"

"Yes!" she said.

"Do you want to go to school?"

"Yes!" was her answer again.

I am not sure if she fully understood these two questions, but I am just going to take "Yes" for a "Yes" and hope everything will turn out fine.

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