Preparing for Primary 1

It seemed like yesterday that I was preparing my elder boy for Primary 1 and I can’t believe its Number 2’s turn so soon! While I’m definitely more “experienced” and well-equipped in dealing with the process this time round, like every parent out there, there is still a sense of anxiety, wondering whether Number 2, being the baby of the family, can cope well in the new environment. I know I’ll miss the solo moments that I spend with each kid sending them to school and childcare separately, but as Number 2 told me earlier today It’s going to be better with the 3 of us going to school together every morning”. 

I’m glad that he is feeling positive and looking forward to Primary 1. Nonetheless, I do make a conscientious effort to prepare him for his new ‘school life’ and here is my personal Primary 1 checklist to make sure that the important areas are covered.

  1. To Be More Independent 

    This is a big deal for Number 2 as he is used to depending on his elder brother for everything, from packing toys to pouring a cup of water!

    This year, we have been encouraging him to make his own decisions and taking ownership of his work, such as remembering his home work assignments, weekly spelling and 听写.

  1. Instill Life Skills 

    My elder boy had a big culture shock when he went to Primary 1. In a way, the childcare environment has been rather “protected”, and he found it hard to accept that his friends do not say “please” and “thank you” or “sorry”. It was very instinctive for him to “tell teacher” whenever somebody knocked into him, took his pencil or even drew on his books. It is important for the kids to learn how handle their own problems and manage set-backs, but yet also know when to escalate a problem when the line is crossed.

    For Number 2, we are currently doing a lot of scenario planning to prepare him mentally, but that’s never enough and they will have to learn through life experiences.

  1. Building a Routine 

    Establishing a routine is particularly important and its best to start early as children take time to settle down into a new lifestyle of entering Primary 1. Of course the routine has to be realistic and balanced, so the kids know that once homework or revision is completed, they get to  enjoy their favorite TV show or play activity.

  1. Sleep Early 

    This is possibly the most challenging one as I’m a night owl and it’s difficult to enforce lights off by 9:30pm. For my elder boy, it was sometimes difficult to get him in bed early, especially when he sees his younger brother prancing around the house given he need not wake up at 6am!

    Hopefully this gets easier next year when the both of them share the same routine.

  1. Handling Money 

    Fund management is a whole big responsibility for Number 2 as he is totally clueless about handling and counting money. It was so bad that he didn’t know whether 50 cents or $50 was “more or less money”.

    To get him at least exposed to buying and paying for his food, we have been doing role-playing where dad is the drinks store uncle, mum is  selling mee pok and kor kor is selling chicken rice. Number 2 will then use his coins to “buy” food. It’s a fun activity and sometimes we make pretend food with Playdoh. I just hope that with practice he gets better.

  2. Building a Strong Mandarin Foundation ✅

    Building a strong Mandarin foundation is important given that our family speaks English 80% of the time at home. There is also a large emphasis on Hanyu Pinyin in Primay 1 and some schools allocate up to half of the mid year assessment marks to Hanyu Pinyin. We try to dedicate at least once a week to reading Chinese story books together so that we can correct his 读音, which helps Hanyu Pinyin. We are also making an effort to speak more Mandarin at home and also pointing out the Chinese names of items we see in our daily life.( For example, escalator is 电动扶梯 ). This will help in the oral component and 看图说话 which the kids will be introduced to in Primary 1.



Getting our children prepared and ready for Primary 1 life – is a continuous journey and more importantly – It’s assuring the child that he is not alone on this journey. To ease the transition and build the confidence of my Number 2, I am also considering some of these holiday programs shortlisted and recommended by fellow parents. What do you think?

The Little Executive – 6 to 9 December, 2pm to 5pm 

In this fun and interactive 4 days camp, children will be equipped with practical strategies to deal with the range of demands from completing daily homework and weekly spelling. Plus the right learning attitude and resilient mindset where they are not afraid of failure and are able to persist despite challenges.

Hua – 28 November to 9 December, 10am to 12noon

Causeway Point (Week 1) | Causeway Point (Week 2) | Greenwich V (Week 1) | Greenwich V (Week 2)

Parents can opt for 1 or 2 weeks program. The purpose of this holiday program is to help our six-ers  build a solid foundation in Chinese before they start their Primary 1 in 2017. The following will be taught and reinforced – Hanyu Pinyin 汉语拼音, Show and Tell 我秀我说, Characters Structure 部首识字, Fun Characters 趣味汉字.

Mind Stretcher – 5 to 16 December

Clementi 930am to 11am| Waterway Point 2pm to 330pm

This is a 15 hour intensive Hanyu Pinyin course, with contents specially catered to our K2 kids heading to Primary 1 next week. This course will equip our kids with a solid foundation in Hanyu Pinyin which will in turn, make the learning of Chinese easier and give them a head start for Primary 1 Chinese!

Pssssttt….. EXCLUSIVELY FOR #TODAYGOTCLASS: Book any of these holiday programs on and get a FREE Timmy & Tammy Guide to Primary 1 book. 

So here’s my story on getting my Number 2 ready for Primary 1. If you have any additional pointers or would like to share your story, talk to us at – We’re always happy to hear from fellow parents!


About the Author

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More about Lydia

Lydia is the co-founder of Today Got Class, and formerly held leadership roles in Banking and Finance as well as Public Service sectors. She is a mother of two boys aged 10 years and 8 years respectively. Lydia firmly believes that being actively involved in a child’s school life sends a clear signal to them that the parent deeply cares about their learning and development. She actively participates in their education journey as an member of the Parent Support Group of their school, as well as meaningful projects such as KIDSREAD (a programme developed by the National Library Board to nurture a love for reading and lifelong learning in children).

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