This past December, your dad and I have been trying to wrap our heads around all the different emotions that come with having you move from K2 to Primary 1.
You have grown so much over the last few years, but this is a real, tangible step for us all to take to realise that you are no longer a toddler or a preschooler, but a pupil who is ready for primary school in Singapore.
Sometimes, we look at you with true wonder and amazement, filled with joyful expectation at the big kid you are growing up to be. Can it really be that long ago that you were a tiny, fragile bundle in my arms?
Moving on from preschool
Our first big jolt came at the preschool graduation concert, when we realised that we would no longer have these little performances to look forward to at the end of the year. Saying goodbye to your preschool teachers and classmates was also difficult, as they have been your second family for the last few years.
Finally, we went shopping for new uniforms and schoolbooks. We picked out the perfect ergonomic schoolbag for you in your favourite colours. We took you for a haircut to match up to your school rules and expectations.
The moment I saw you with your hair neatly groomed, grinning in your new school uniform and gleaming white shoes, it really hit home for me that you would soon be starting a new phase of life.
The morning of your first day of primary school
Like most parents, I applied for leave for the first and second school day to ease your transition into primary school. I think I might have felt even more anxious than you!
Certainly, it was a real comfort to me to see how readily you started making friends with your new classmates. Luckily, you also had someone from your preschool in your class, so it helped that you already had a friend you knew well.
As I sat in the morning assembly with the other parents, it struck me that none of us was really alone. Just like you and me, the other parents and your new schoolmates also felt excited, happy, anxious and nervous.
Watching you adjust to your new primary school and surroundings
The reason we were all on tenterhooks was that we were unsure how all of you would react to the new environment. After all, primary school is so very different from preschool.
Not only do you have to adapt to a new kind of learning, but you also have to learn to sit and listen for longer stretches, toe the line in terms of stricter school rules and discipline, buy your own food for recess, and many more.
However, most of us parents were pleasantly surprised. You all did so well for your first day. With the buddy system in place, each of you had an older schoolmate to guide you and help you learn the ropes. Indeed, all of the primary one kids proved to be so much more adaptable and resilient than we had given them credit for.
What you learned from your first day in primary school
It was so heart-warming and comforting to hear you babble away excitedly about your day when you finally came home from school. You had so much to share about the fun things you did, the new friends you made, and the caring new teachers who would be teaching you for the rest of the school year. You even told me about the dishes you selected at recess time and how you managed to get the correct change!
You are also looking forward to the new subjects you are going to learn. Before, in preschool, English, Math and Mother Tongue were more fluidly mixed during lesson times, but now your lessons will have more clear cut boundaries. Sometimes, I worry that you may be bombarded with too much, too soon. Like any other parent, I am concerned about the pace of your new curricula.
However, with your enrichment teachers lending support, and with the enormous patience and care of your new schoolteachers, I am assured that you have many people holding your hand as you progress.
Even if you stumble and make mistakes, remember that Mummy and Daddy have your back! We are always there to lend a helping hand and a listening ear if you need it.
Mum and Dad
Written by Danielle Hee