Preparing For Primary & Secondary School

49294202 - from behind four elementary school students to the show of hands in class

Quell the first-day jitters with these sensible school survival tips.


Academic Skills
It’s hard to quantify what “sufficient” means in relation to primary school preparation, but a competent reader will be likely to thrive in any school system. Ultimately, parents’ values and beliefs about education should dictate the school preparation process, but you can refer to our comprehensive guides if you need advice or direction.

Organisation Skills
June, a mother of three and childhood educator in training, feels it’s essential to help schoolgoing children develop organisation skills so they can better manage their time, money, and personal responsibilities. She recommends making a simple to-do chart to help your child visualise the daily tasks that need to be completed, and you can read her other suggestions here.

Life Skills
Are your children able to ask permission to visit the washroom? Can they buy their own food? Do they realise they will need to relay information from the school to you, the parent? Do they know how to look after their belongings? Are they prepared to handle bullies? Are they aware of what constitutes sexual abuse or harassment? Read the mom blogs here and here to find out how to equip your child with these daily living skills.

Money Skills
A local mom’s method of using dollar-store pillboxes to help her children manage their daily allowances was a hit when she first published her post back in 2014. It’s an effective way of helping children to save and put aside money for donations too, and you can upgrade to a small set of drawers when they’re old enough for weekly allowances.

Back-To-School Shopping
Personalised name labels are popular with local parents, with some generous parents even including them as goodie bag stuffers for the entire class. Read shopping lists, such as this one, to help in formulating your own, but be mindful that lists are subjective. It is possible to get through the school year with one pair of school shoes, although depending on the quality of the shoes, they may fall apart after a semester. Some parents feel it’s necessary to label uniforms, socks, and shoes, while others label only the shoes. Ergonomic bags may not be necessary if most schoolbooks can be stowed under a classroom desk, or if your child will be ferried home by car or private bus. The most sensible way to approach school supplies is to buy only what you’re certain your child will need; you can stock up on additional supplies along the way.  


What To Expect
A local mum compares the schools of her two daughters in this post, and a local blogger highlights differences between “neighbourhood” and “elite” schools here, based on her academic journey. Seek out personal stories as they may help provide a framework for assessing your child’s secondary school, so you can find ways to supplement your child’s learning and exposure in the areas that may be lacking. You can also read our “Preparing For Secondary One” forum thread, where parents share their concerns and preparation efforts.

Parenting Your Teen
“Parenting an early teen is a lot like parenting a toddler,” says child psychologist, author, and mother Laura Markham, who doles out solutions to parenting conundrums on her web site Aha! Parenting. Find out how to stay connected and maintain a peaceful relationship with your early teen here.

Growth Mindset
Chances are, your children’s grades will slip as they acclimate to their new school environment, as well as to the increase in subject load and depth of coverage. This is why a growth mindset is important—students need confidence and motivation in order to view setbacks and challenges as learning opportunities. Read more about how to encourage a growth mindset here.

Goal Setting
Goals are mere daydreams unless they are supported by action plans. Work with your children to set targets, and help them to identify the concrete steps that they will need to take in order to achieve results. Read more about goal setting here.

Study Skills
Now’s the time to help your child develop skills that will ease their transition into tertiary education. First and foremost, healthy habits such as getting ample sleep should never be compromised. Learn about a textbook reading strategy called SQ4R here, and about note-taking strategies here. Last-minute cramming should not be encouraged, but should your child land in a situation where time is in short supply, use the tips here to make revision count.


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