Thursday, January 03, 2008

Starting School

I guess I join the many parents out there whose child is starting school for the first time. Since my DD is in the morning school, we woke up early to catch her van transport. I asked her if she was excited, she said "No." BUT I knew she was as she was out at the gate very early (6:45am) waiting for the van rather impatiently, plus she packed her school bag the afternoon before.
My girl is rather independant so I don't really worry about her starting school. I think most children starting Std. 1 are already regular school goers because of kindergarten. So, there was hardly any fussing or crying going on. Actually, the worried onces were the parents anxiously standing around, finding it difficult to let go.
My only worries for DD are:
  1. She won't understand what everyone is talking about because her Bahasa Malaysia is not that great.
  2. She won't know how to find the van that is her transport home. Or she will get into the wrong van. Went to the school to make sure she knows how to identify the van and get on the right one.
Orientation day was on the 1/1/2008. They highlighted 3 things to the parents:
  1. Transitional period - The children will go through a 3 week transitional program. It's a time for teachers to get to know the pupils, for pupils to get to know other pupils, and also to familiarize them with the school compound. Basically, to get them to transition from kindergarten to a bigger, formal school environment. So they will be no learning for this 3 weeks. They tell us this coz' they don't want parents to call and question them "why my child no homework ah?" or "why my child say they only jalan-jalan in school today?" They also told us the child does not need to bring any books during this time, just writing material and color pencils. Talking about books, the said they will only give during the 2nd week but today she already brought home some.
  2. KIA 2M - I think that's what it's called. The kids will be given an evaluation test (one on one with the teacher I believe) to gauge their reading, writing and counting skills. Those that don't have sufficient reading skills will attend this special KIA 2M class. Evaluations are done 3 times a year. Any time they pass the evaluation test, they will be integrated back to the normal class. According to the teacher, there are children that start school without even knowing the alphabets even though they've already attended 2 years of kindergarten. This program is to ensure all children have basic reading and writing skills. Oh, must add that this is only for Bahasa Malaysia.
  3. Special education class - I'm impressed that this school actually have a class for children with special needs. Teachers will monitor the children and those that need special attention, will be transfered to the special education class.

Now, I don't know if this is the same for all schools. I'm sure the Chinese schools will differ. But maybe these 3 programs are the same for all kebangsaan schools?

Okay, so how was the first day of school for K? One word-- BORING!
Why? Because they didn't do any work. Nevermindlah, you come back home, mommy give you plenty of work okay? :) I guess the following can be a tip:

  • Don't hype up too much the experience of starting school. In other words, don't tell children "it will be sooo great" or "it will be fun, you make new friends, learn new things" etc.... First day of school will generally be confusing and like my daughter said, BORING. Be realistic and let your children know that the first few days is a transitional period. Teachers are getting things in order, new students are figuring how things work.

Here's a list of how much we spent or what we got for getting ready for school:

  1. School bag - given by friend. Not advisable to get the roller/pulley bags because they don't last long. If you have to carry them, they are heavier than normal bags. Plus, you can't roll them everywhere e.g. staircase, uneven terrain.
  2. Pencil box with pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener, ruler - given as Christmas present.
  3. Color pencils - given as a Christmas present.
  4. Water bottle - given as a Christmas present.
  5. Food container for recess - just an old one from the house.
  6. Wallet - given as a Christmas present.
  7. Watch - RM10.00
  8. Glitter pen (marker pen also okay, but glitter pen looks nicer mah) - to write her names on her bags, pencil box etc.... Plus glitter pen can be used for other art and craft work -- err... can't remember how much it cost.
  9. 2 pairs of school shoes - RM23.99 each.
  10. 1 set baju kurung uniform - RM40.80
  11. 2 sets pinafore uniform - RM69.60
  12. 4 pairs of white socks - RM11.80
  13. Exercise books and school badge - RM23.60
  14. School fees and whatever other fees like PIBG, sports, awards etc... - RM148.65

Another thing I realized today that I should get for her - umbrella or raincoat. Okay, I hope this has been somewhat helpful to parents who will have children starting Std. 1 next year.


  1. bravo to karina!! :)
    no prob for mommy.

  2. Thannk for sharing. Hope K adapt to her primary school life.

  3. not cheap also when they start schooling....even kindi is expensive with so much activities now.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing. It'll definitely be useful for me next year. :)

  5. Hi Lian
    I've just settled my son in kindy. Still a challenge for me though this is my second time but easier though.

    A raincoat is definitely better! It's lighter,easier to handle, plus a raincoat will shelter everything including the schoolbag.

    My 2 sen worth.


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