How You Can Prepare Your Primary School Child for The Next Level

Submitted by Advertiser KiasuParent

What’s the best way to get your primary school children ready for the new school year? 

There are no shortcuts to success — students need the motivation to do well, a positive mindset, actionable goals, and good habits. These are life skills that take time to develop, which is why parents should provide guidance during the primary school years.

Not sure where to start? Read on for tips from experts at The Learning Lab (TLL) on preparing for the next level, so that your child will be all set and ready to shine in the new year.

Developing Skills for Primary 1 and 2

For a strong start to primary school, help your child hone key academic and learning skills in literacy and numeracy, says Sue Lynn Lee, TLL’s academic director for the Early Years and Lower Primary programmes. Such skills include being able to read and understand simple text, and knowing how to count real objects, as well as match, sort, compare, and order items.

Though there are no tests or exams in Primary 1 and 2, you should enable your child to grow into a responsible learner, says Sue Lynn.

Below are five goals Sue Lynn recommends you set with your preschooler to develop their independence and sense of personal responsibility as they transition to primary school:

  1. Sleeping early and waking up on time to get ready for school
  2. Looking after their belongings, and knowing what to do if they lose an item
  3. Knowing how to handle money and buy food from the canteen
  4. Knowing where the important places in school are, e.g. the classroom, the toilets, and where to wait for the school bus or car
  5. Following the school rules

And here are five goals that can help your Primary 1 child foster a good learning attitude in the classroom as he or she moves to Primary 2:

  1. Paying attention in class — you can ask your child to give you daily school updates, e.g. three new things that he or she learned, or three interesting things that a teacher said
  2. Taking down notes so they know what homework to complete
  3. Ensuring they complete their homework for the day
  4. Checking on marked assignments and learning from mistakes
  5. Knowing how to ask for help if they don’t understand a concept

Preparing for New Changes in Primary 3

Two big changes are ahead for your child in Primary 3 — the introduction of Science as a subject, as well as your child’s first exposure to year-end exams. 

To help your child adjust to these changes, Hong Jiayi, Academic Director at TLL for JEM and Choa Chu Kang shares some tips below:

  1. Many students are excited to start learning Science in Primary 3. Take advantage of their excitement and curiosity, and help them develop a love of learning. Start exploring the world of science by conducting DIY home experiments. Apart from being a fun activity, such experiments have observable results that help illustrate basic science concepts for your child’s understanding. To begin, you can download TLL’s quick-and-easy Science experiments to try with your child at home. All you will need are common household items and a healthy dose of curiosity!

  2. Understand that exam preparation involves more than just memorising content and knowing how to answer questions. Strong study habits — such as setting aside time to regularly revise and understand past material — are essential for building a solid foundation in the long run. Set up a regular and consistent study routine with your child, in a workspace that is free from distractions.

Managing the Jump from Primary 4 to Primary 5

This new year will demand of your child the mastery of tougher concepts, higher order skills and stronger learning dispositions. It is not uncommon for students’ grades to fall significantly in Primary 5 as there is a steep increase in marks and components. To tackle the demands of the next academic level, provide your child with the support critical to tackling this transition.

Here are Jiayi’s tips to keep in mind during this period:

  1. Be your child’s cheerleader. Help them to continue to enjoy learning and not be too overwhelmed by the thought of examinations.
  2. Do not panic. Reassure your child that he or she has gone through many transitions before and they will continue to grow, just like they did previously. They do not need to get it right away. Do not lose sight of the goal of growing and learning. This learning disposition – not giving up – is important if we think about how Primary 5 to Primary 6 is a marathon.
  3. While the work and questions that they face might be tougher, their ability to tackle these challenges falls back on the important foundational skills and concepts they have learnt from Primary 1 to Primary 4. If a new topic seems too challenging, advise your child to first tackle the easy questions before working up the different levels of difficulty. Being able to see how to apply the basics first is most important. 
  4. Don’t berate your child for the drop in marks. Understand the areas that require improvement and work on a plan on how to improve.

Primary 5 to Primary 6: 

If your child’s Primary 5 results have been less than satisfactory, don’t feel discouraged, as there is still time to brush up his or her knowledge and skills before the PSLE.

No matter how your child performed during the exams, it’s important to affirm your child’s efforts, says Jiayi. If your child didn’t meet a target that you had agreed upon, find out how he or she feels, and what challenges cropped up during the exam preparation process.

Jiayi advises, “Often, your child will feel that he or she has done his or her best. He or she might even feel as though he or she has disappointed you. Do not leave it as that. Do these instead:

  1. Acknowledge his or her past efforts – “I saw how you tried your best and studied before your exam.”
  2. Focus on the learning – “It’s okay to make mistakes and do corrections. It’s all about learning and growing!”
  3. Figure out the next step together! – “Let’s see what we can do to take the next step.”

More often than not, if a child has not fared well in the exams, it is due to a poor understanding of foundational concepts, which should be addressed early, says TLL’s academic director Sue Lynn. “Identify specific concepts or topics that require improvement and revisit them,” she advises.

While children should relax during the year-end holidays, it is also an opportune time to brush up on ‘weaker’ subjects. Sit down with your child to go through his or her schoolwork, and for each subject, identify the questions or topics that your child might need help with. Recognising these problem areas early will help you decide on the next steps for your child. 

TLL develops its own curriculum materials in accordance with the MOE syllabus, and its curriculum is specially crafted with a variety of hands-on activities to help students enjoy learning. Their class sizes are capped at 12 to ensure an optimal learning environment – students get opportunities to work with their peers and learn from one another’s mistakes while receiving individual attention from their teacher.

Gearing Up for the PSLE in Primary 6

The PSLE year is a milestone year for your child — it is the final year of your child’s primary school journey, culminating in a national exam. 

During this momentous year, your child will have to:

  • Learn new Primary 6 topics to complete the PSLE syllabus
  • Revise and apply concepts learned from Primary 3 to 5
  • Refine exam skills and techniques

It’s a lot to handle, so it’s no wonder that some children find the PSLE year overwhelming. Do check in regularly on your child’s emotional health — a child should have enough downtime to relax, bond with the family, and pursue a hobby.

As the saying goes ‘work hard and play hard’. It’s important for children to have pockets of calm and to be able to relax fully in a day. This helps them to manage their anxiety levels and calm their racing minds, so that they can be at their best when they tackle new challenges ahead!

Above all, know that with the right guidance and resources, your child can achieve his or her desired grades. TLL provides a structured plan that prioritises each child’s individual learning needs, and guides him or her along the optimal path towards achieving success at the PSLE. Their programmes for English, Maths, and Science will help your child to:

  • Consolidate knowledge and apply exam skills
  • Apply key exam strategies and answering techniques
  • Gain ample practice through mock papers

To stay ahead, one must plan ahead. Secure a spot in The Learning Lab’s 2023 classes and enjoy exclusive fee waivers when you enrol during Priority Registration today.

Mon 03/10/2022