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Choosing a primary school

All of us want the best for our children, but what is the best for the child when it comes to choosing a primary school? I think a lot of people will answer that they want a good school for the child. But what is the good school for most people may not be a good school for your child.

I notice that a lot of parents will see whether the school had good PSLE results, whether there is any affiliation to any secondary school etc.

Personally, I had a different set of criteria:


  • Environment which suits the learning ability of the child
    • Every child is different, some are competitive while others cower in the face of competition. Putting a child who needs push (or competition) to excel in a top school will bring out the potential in the child. Putting him in a not so competitive school may breed complacency in him if he is top of the form all the time. On the other hand, putting a child who cannot be pressured to perform in a top school will only result in the child suffering his childhood years.
    • I have a friend who was an old boy of a top school. Naturally, he sent his son there when it was time for Primary 1. Although it was only much later that the child was diagnosed with learning disability, even when he was in kindergarten, he already had difficulty in speaking and socializing with other children. Being in the top school, he was often left behind as all the other kids were way ahead of him. Sometimes, he would be left sitting in front to play by himself while the other kids were learning. We cannot expect the teacher to cater to 1 particular student while she has 30 other kids to take care of. Consequently, my friend pulled the son out of the school before the end of Primary 1.
    • On the other hand, there is another boy who is very intelligent. However, he is ‘afraid to lose’. This means that if he feels that he will lose in something, he will not even try. Putting him in a neighbourhood school actually boosted his confidence over the years. Though there were equally intelligent kids in his class, most of the others did not have much of a strong headstart in pre-school education. Without much ‘competition’, his teachers were quick to identify him and often put in him lead roles in class. This has allowed his confidence to grow and he has now fitted comfortably into a GEP school.
  • Homework
    • What is your view of how much homework the school should give? Personally, I detest homework especially in Primary 1. I feel that the child should view the school as a fun place to play when he is first exposed to mainstream school. When I was choosing a school for my son, I was recommended that a neighbourhood school was very, very good. Upon further probing, I found that it is because the school gives lots of homework even to P1s. Needless to say, I did not even consider the school. However, some parents feel that the kids need homework to occupy their time to prevent them from mischief when the parents are at work.
  • Distance from home to the school
    • There is merit in sending a child to a school near home rather than to another far away. Some school buses pick up the child at a ridiculously early time, especially if the child lives far away. Do you think it is important for the child to have the extra half an hour of sleep each morning? Sending the child to school yourself will save some time, but don’t forget that a lot of other parents do the same and you would expect to see a long queue of cars getting into the school in the mornings.
    • And in some schools, the school buses do not serve areas that are too far away as there is less demand after the normal school times. For example, there may be enough students during normal school times but not enough to run a service just for those coming home after their CCA.
  • Single session schools
    • Until the government changes all schools to single session, there are still some schools which hold their P1 and P2 classes in the afternoon. If your child does not have the habit of waking up early, it may be good to slowly ease them into mainstream school with not too many changes in their lifestyle and allow them to sleep in. However, if your child is an early bird, being in the morning session allows a lot more flexibility in scheduling other fun activities in the afternoons (example catching a movie, going to the playground in the evenings).
    • What home support you have is crucial too as you may have to consider who looks after your child or where he can go to before / after school.
  • Discipline and character building
    • Closely linked to the learning environment is also the level of discipline in the schools. Are you comfortable with how the school disciplines errant students? You may think that the school is too strict while another parent may not think so. But do consider how your child reacts to the kind of discipline.

There are many more other considerations which I have not yet listed and some people will have different views from me.


I will surely consider them.

I will surely consider them. Thanks!

Knowing The Best For Our Kids

Hi everyone

Finally, the time has come for me to register my eldest kids for P1.

Before we know the dates, hb and I have been discussing which school should we send him to.

1st consideration – logistic.

We are working parents so convenience, distance will be the top consideration when we choose the school so that it is also easy for the caregivers to send or pick up my kids.

2nd consideration – Quality of the School i.e Teachers, Facilities etc

For us, if the school has been producing top students, there should be no doubts of the standard of the school but that does not mean the qualities of the teachers is good. We have friends who are Teachers themselves and taught at so call ‘reputable’ school, I have seen the way they taught their kids, not that they are no qualities.. but… hm.. shall not comment too much..

For us, these are the 2 main consideration that we will look into when we decide a school for our kids.

For me, I always believe a good foundation.. will develop a good students.

The ways, environment etc that a kid go through will subsequently develop how he will behave when he/she grows up. Self discipline, of course, is another factor.

I would prefer my kids to grow up in a less taxing environment but I know this is not realistic.

BUT, we will also try not to be a too kiasu parents who will tax our children *cross fingers* 

We are fortunate that our neighbourhood school is considered quite a ‘good’ school within the neighrhood and is just 2 blocks away, thus solve the 1 issue.

Feedback from vaious comments, the Teachers are caring and patience, hope not just hearsay.. we do have a friend who is teaching as well.. 🙂

Now, just cross my fingers that my eldest kids can get in.. and pave the way for his sisters. 🙂

Fishing for a good teacher

My biggest hope of getting my son into a good primary school is to find a good teacher. All children need proper guidance no matter how intelligent they are. A good teacher will be able to bring out the potential of the child even if they appear not so "up to speed". Based on the many feedbacks from friends around me, most good teachers are found in good school, i guess this properly due to the peer pressure from parents group and reputation of the school. Though I must also admit that there are also good teacher at other less popular school.

I am still not sure what

I am still not sure what kind of school is my dd really suitable for. not all parents will switch around the school until the child can’t adapt.

As the speach and drama teacher said she is those type of people, don’t push, will not go anywhere. so I put her into a SAP school.

choosing a primary school

hi yes i agree in enrolling your child in the sch that best suits him/her

but nobody knows your child best except you, so you may want to observe them and see if they are academically inclined or not, then you may choose a sch that best suits their standard.

of course every parent believes that their child is the best and smartest…. but what i do is gauge my child’s standard with her current kindergarten peers, by asking their teachers  and looking at their syllabus and to see their performance in class.

yes i am kiasu, i always check if my child is the best, or who scores how many marks for whatever test. from there, i know roughly if my child will be able to cope if i send her to the    " better school". cos if she is always the top three in her class then i should think she is able to" survive", but if the teachers feedback is negative, and if my child is like the bottom few, then i better lower my expectations.

everyone wants the best for their child, but best is a  personal interpretation. if you are a more grades driven parent then of couse you will choose those sch with good psle results

if you are a more holistic parent then you may want to let other parameters come into play, e.g religion, cca, distance

i agree with hougang mum on children are like kites, we should let them fly freely, but you may need to define the compund the kites are flying in.

as an ex teacher, i strongly believe that sch environment plays an impt part. if the students are generally motivated, your child will become one

but if the students/parents of the students are not too motivated, then you child can only be motivated that much and you will have to put in more effort to do the motivation part



choosing a primary school

i very much agree with acforfamily about choosing a primary school for my kid. personally those were the exact criteria i used for enrolling my kid. as long as your child has the motivation to study it doesn’t matter which school he is in. we as parents can also do our part by guiding them. after all children are like kites, we must allow them to fly freely but with the string in our hands.

I think a school motto,

I think a school motto, vision and values are also one of the consideration in choosing a school.

religious affliations

Hi foreverj, I agree too. However, I do see parents with strong religion beliefs send their kids to a missionary school when they are not Christian / catholics themselves. And I could be wrong but I believe that there are some buddhist schools too?

Big fish in a small pond or Small fish in a big pond

thanks for giving me another perspective what to look into when comes to select a good school. Yes, you are right, "I think a lot of people will answer that they want a good school for the child". But even "good" is also relative. To simplify, let’s divide the children into two extreme categories: one is average below and above average. For parents who think their child is above average, I guess most will want to choose a top school. Benefits of being in top schools are the children will get more competitive, because they are surrounded by so called top students with better educational background and perhaps well off parents interms of higher education and career. I know one of the reason for some parents to put their children in top schools are to get network with well off connection. This is so called "Being a small fish in a big pond" Of course by all mean, every parent wants the child to be "big fish in a big pond too", but how many percentage among those? probably 3%. Another stream is putting the child in neighbourhood school, there is a potential that he/she can be the big fish in a small pond, this will boost up his/her self esteem/ confidence which in his/her later life stage will be very useful. But…..something to ponder, if you never put them in a big pond (read: most competitive schools), how do you know your child can not compete? To be honest, i find environment/companion has a very strong influence. If you put them and mix around with children who are not so into study, to certain extend, they will be less competitive. You never know until you put your child, you also don’t want to be too opinioned about his capability, let’s say you think he can not compete in top schools, then you probably undermine his potential to push his capability further. Another option is you can alway change the school if you think the school is not suitable, though I know it’s troublesome. If not, he/she can shine too when he /she goes to secondary school. Though primary school is important as to have a good foundation, but it’s only 6 years foundation, what determine the success in his job/career does not depend on primary school alone. i know some of my friends who were not so bright in primary school, but they did better in career/job and earn more than those who were smarter than them. There is no rule which one is right and wrong. Everything boils down to our choice as parents (as children do not have choice / decide for themselves now).

After all, to me, I guess, after pondering, whether "big fish in a small pond or small fish in a big pond." errr…..because we can not dictate them to be big or small fish, but we as parent will grow them thru guidance, but we can choose the pond, …….i guess, it does not matter the size of the pond (big or small), as long as the pond is clean, I am OK, so the fish will not be poluted and die.

My 2 cents.



hi acforfamily, great

hi acforfamily, great summary of considerations! i have one more to add. how abt religious affiliations? i believe for many christians/catholics, sending their children to a mission school is one of the considerations since the child will be more likely to be brought up with similar values as the parents.

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