Thursday, 3 January 2013

Preparation for school - Part Two

So while everyone was counting down for the new year and celebrating with family and friends, I was busy preparing Kah Yen to go to school. Or rather, busy getting excited, then anxious, then worried, then all over the cycle again. It's a big milestone isn't it? And having heard so many stories of kids crying for two months before settling down, kids refusing to sleep on their own again after attending school, kids falling sick and having nightmares, to say that I am not worried is totally a lie.

I have read on the internet a list of things to do to prepare kids to go to school, by school I mean childcare/preschool/kindergarten. Here are some of the things I am going through with Kah Yen:

1. Bring her to look at the school before starting school

I brought her to the school two weeks back. She seemed to like the place and was excited about going to school. I was lucky because the concept of school is not something new to her. At our nanny's place, the two Korkors go to school from her place in the morning and came back after half a day, so every morning together with our Nanny Kah Yen will send them to their school bus and pick them back in the afternoon. When I told her she is going to school just like Korkor, she was thrilled.

The only regret is I did not let her interact with her class teachers, because they were busy preparing the year end concert with the kids. I should have let her say "Hi" to them and see if she likes them. However, she did interact with the administrative staff at the front counter and I will say she is a very gentle and loving lady. Kah Yen likes her.

2. Let her know what she will be doing at the school

The easiest way to do this is repeat and repeat. I kept telling her what she would be doing in school in simple terms she can understand. She soon can memorize them all. This was her answer when I asked her what she would be doing at school: "Read books, write, eat, sing and dance!" Hmm. she only remembered the fun things ah. I carefully reminded her she would take shower and afternoon nap at school too, she seemed a bit scared. Hopefully after seeing what the other children are doing for the first three days, she will feel comfortable about the shower and nap part.

Another better way to show young kids what they will be doing at school is to read picture books about school to them, there are many pictures books available. I took a mental note but then with all the activities of the festive season, I didn't even have the time to get the books from the library. So I had to tell her using my own words.

3. Show her the uniform she will be wearing

I am thankful Kah Yen's school uniform is so bright and striking. I can tell she liked it instantly. She commented excitingly "So pretty!" and then refused to allow me to take it off. I knew then I should take advantage of the uniform and get her excited about going to school. This is our repeated conversation for the next few days:

"Kah Yen, do you like your school uniform?


"Do you want to wear it to go to school?


Great! I think I am almost there.

Kah Yen wearing her uniform for the first time

4. Ask if there are things she wants to bring with her

I made a mistake at first. I told her she can bring her Baby Pooh to school. I thought it is good to bring since Baby Pooh is her "security blanket" and she can fall asleep better with Baby Pooh. But the school advised us not to bring any toys or beloved items, because other kids may snatch from her and it would cause conflict, also the items might get damaged or lost. Another important reason is also to train the children to be more independent. I totally agree. Hence I explained to her using terms she can understand and promised her that Baby Pooh will always wait at home for her to come back. When I asked her "Is that alright?" She said "Yes". She is really a big girl now. I still remember the times when she'd cry every time we forget to bring Baby Pooh with us when going out.

So instead of asking her what she wants to bring, I showed her the things she can bring. I  put name stickers on her water bottle, her milk bottle and her milk container. I also sewed name tags on her uniform and her towel. When I showed her the name tags, she felt might happy these things belong to her.

... ...

There are other things such as telling her which day and what time we will bring her to school, what time we will pick her back, and who will be coming to fetch her etc, we are slowly telling her. I am with her for the first three days of orientation, after which Daddy will be the one to send her and pick her up. Hence I guess it will take her a few days to get used to the routine.

Let's hope all will work out well.

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