What are the various other schools' policy on parent visit ?

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Should schools allow parents on their premises?

Yes, anytime, anywhere
0
No votes
Yes, anytime but restricted to designated places such as canteen
2
18%
Yes, anytime but restricted to places with no interaction with students
0
No votes
Yes, but only on special occasions or with valid health reasons
9
82%
No, not at all
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 11

What are the various other schools' policy on parent visit ?

Postby Amos2010 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:16 pm

I wish I could put this question up in a forum where it will be read by all parents from various primary schools. I cannot post a same message in every school's parent networking forum. So the only way is to write it here. However, I am not here to 'Chit Chat', I am raising a serious issue.

Before I go further, please let me say that this matter is now receiving the attention of the school's management. And in order not to complicate matter, I am not going to name names. I also registered a new userID so that, hopefully, nobody can tell which school I am talking about.

Amos2010
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Postby Amos2010 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:17 pm

continue...


Starting from Term 2, my child (who is in the afternoon session) is required to go to school early (around 10am or 11am) for some supplementary lessons, CCA or what not.

I bring my child to school everyday. On such days, I would pack home-cooked lunch for him. I'll bring him to school at the designated time either 10am or 11am, and while he goes for his lesson/CCA, I will wait at the school's canteen. At about noon time, he will come and look for me, and eat lunch.

One of the school's admin/operation staff keeps harrassing me for this. Firstly, according to him, the school's rule says that visitor (all parents visiting the school have to register with the security guard and get a visitor badge, which I did every time) cannot come in and 'stay' in the school. Visitor means visit - i.e., I can come in just to pass the food to my child, and leave.

I find this extremely unreasonable.

Secondly, another staff from the school told me that - if you occupy a seat in the school's canteen, AND IF other parents follow you, THEN there are no seats left for the pupils.

I can 'reluctantly' accept this second reason, and I will elaborate it later.

Here is what blew my top today: having reluctantly accepted the second reason, when I went to the school canteen this afternoon, I decided not to sit down. Before I could even put the food on the canteen table for my child, the same admin staff came again to chase me away. The reason - parents with visitor badge are NOT allowed to sit. But I was standing there !

I was very angry about this, and I called the school's general office. The rest are history.

I would like to know what other schools in Singapore do in this regard ? Are they as unreasonable as this one ? Didn't the Health Promotion Board or someone say home cooked food is healthier ? Didn't the MCYS or someone say we have to be family-focus and if I am willing to do this much for my child, why is the school stopping me from doing this ?

I can understand if they do so in the days of H1N1 outbreak. Today, I just cannot accept why I am chased away again and again.

While I am waiting for my child, I just sit quietly in the canteen, not wondering around, not popping my head into the class rooms. I just read a book. And mind you, at 10am or 11am, the canteen DOES NOT have many students and it is quite spacious.

From 12noon to 1pm, school buses come in and the children arrive in school. Ok, I agree that parent should not take up the seats in the canteen. This seems fair. However, today, I made a concious effort not to sit, and I still get the same harassment. This is absurd !

Is the reason - if we allow you to do this, and every other parents would follow - even sound logical ? To begin with, not every parent bring their child to school. Probably half the population go by school bus. Most of them would already have their lunch at home, although I observed that some still have lunch or snack. Secondly, not all parents bringing their child to school bring lunch. Most of them would already have taken lunch before coming to school.

Only those who go for tution (outside), CCA or otherwise, take lunch in school. And again, only a handful of these category are accompanied by parent (like me).

So, this seemingly valid reason is, afterall, a convenient reason for the school to 'manage' their problem. Every parent who come to school has a VALID reason. The school is not a community club or a shopping mall. They come at the time they need to, and leave right after the business is done.

Questions: is your school as unfriendly as mine ? what are some of the best-practise you can share so that I can help this school to learn from others ?

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Postby Amos2010 » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:30 pm

continue...

Some people told me that they support strict school policies for visitor as it gives them the peace of mind that their children are in the company of properly authorized adults that are fully responsible for their well-being while in school.

I am not sure how good the other school's security guards are. But the following is a fact: when I come to school, and if the security guard is engaged with a driver who is trying to come into the school (of course cannot, but the security guard still have to attend to it), the post is un-manned. Some time, the security guards will wave from where he stands and we can sign ourselves in.

So is the school really secured ?

Don't let the deployment of security guard in school give you a false sense of security (or at least for the school I visited). There is nothing stopping anyone from going into the school claiming to be a parent.

The guard don't even check the ICs. Or maybe he recognises those parents who comes every day ? If so, then why is there still a need to sign in ? What real purpose does it serves ? We are lucky that Singapore is generally safe. We don't have mad people go around shooting students in schools here.

Someone from MOE really got to review this. We are talking about increasing the productivity in Singapore again. Are these security guards doing good productive work - real work that contributes to the safty of our children in school ?

Or are the school's staff spending their time harassing parents (who come to school so often and they recognise) to uphold some irrelevant rules.

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Postby Guest » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:52 pm

Question: Is your school as unfriendly as mine?

1. The question you raised is quite typical of a new parent to a school where perspective is more from "self" than the school's.

2. I would not answer the question as "yes, it is as unfriendly" because it is a leading question to which I do not feel the same. I would say, "yes, our school practises the same approach."

3. I actually do EXACTLY what you do for your child. My child does not take any food in the school canteen as I deem them as not-so-healthy. So we have the same practice of bringing home-cooked food for every event and packed for every recess.

4. The difference as follows with my reasons:

a. Due to security reasons, each parent entering the school premise needs to register and get a security card.

b. I respect the fact that as parents we should only be in the school when required, i.e. meeting teachers or doing PV. I personally do not like to see waiting parents loitering in the school. As a parent, for security reasons, I would prefer lesser strangers to be in the school as far as possible, easier for the security to manage. Even with security cards, there is actually no sure guarantee that that is truly a parent loitering in the school. So I like to make myself scarce once I am done with business in school.

c. So if I need to wait till the lesson is over, I will do a drop off, then I typically would walk to a nearby coffee place and park myself there instead of waiting at the canteen. Unless I have been summoned to do PV work, otherwise I prefer to leave the school even if it is an hour only.

d. The other reason is true that if other parents observe that you do that, then everyone else would find a reason to loiter around. Collectively, there would be many parents loitering around in the school. :shock:

5. I am grateful enough that when I return I can sit in the canteen to watch my child finish the food and bring the containers back to ensure no unnecessary load in the schoolbag. Maybe you can request up to this level in order not to clutter the schoolbag with more containers but waiting in the canteen until lunch would not be ideal.

6. I really do not think the school is being unreasonable or unfriendly. There is always a fine line between convenience and security. If, for your convenience to wait around and more and more people want to do so in future, it would compromise on the security. As a parent, concerned for my child and general good of all other children, I would rather abide by this ruling, take a walk further somewhere where I can park myself comfortably and return later with the food and enjoy the bonding time with my child then.

Talk to them and see if you can find a middle-ground solution like (5) above.

Btw, I just want to add, the school's policies are not perfect. There are some more serious issues than this one so I would choose my battles to fight.
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Postby Amos2010 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:27 am

Hi,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I want you to know that I am not being confrontational and I appreciate having the opportunity to exchange views on this with another parent, that is why I put up this message.

However, I am afraid I do not quite understand this:

ks2me wrote:Maybe you can request up to this level in order not to clutter the schoolbag with more containers but waiting in the canteen until lunch would not be ideal.


Could you please enlighten ?
Last edited by Amos2010 on Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby qms » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:23 am

Amos2010 wrote:So is the school really secured ?


Actually, if you find any lapse in the area of security, you should bring the matter up to the attention of the Operations Manager of the school, or the principal. Singapore is generally safe. However, I still remember two boys went missing in the 1980s, and they are still not found today. I am sure you won't want such a thing to happen. Prevention is better than cure. You don't wait for a problem to happen before you start tackling it.

Amos2010 wrote:If so, then why is there still a need to sign in ? What real purpose does it serves ?


The same reason goes to your questions above. True, we are not experiencing the H1N1 outbreak here. But, you must admit that signing in does facilitate contact tracing should an outbreak happens. You won't know if you were a carrier of some virus, right? Let's say another parent is a carrier of H1N1 virus, and unknowingly, went to the school. What would happen if the school needs to close down due to the spread because of this? You would blame the school for not taking the right measures, right?

You also mentioned that not all parents bring their children to schools. However, if the school were to set a precedent, parents will start requesting their maids or the children's grandparents to be in the school, too. Till then, do you still think the school will not be in a "mess"?

When you have a procedure, stick to the procedure. Too much exceptions to the procedure will lead to confusion because there are simply too many unknowns.

Cool down. Take a step back, and look at this issue from another perspective. Like what ks2me suggested, maybe you would like to wait for your child outside the school, in a coffee shop or a park, rather than in the school.

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Postby Guest » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:28 am

Amos2010 wrote:
ks2me wrote:Maybe you can request up to this level in order not to clutter the schoolbag with more containers but waiting in the canteen until lunch would not be ideal.


I did not get what you wrote here. Please enlighten.


What I meant was:

Don't wait in the school, but request to return and go to the canteen to see your child finish lunch(I assume is P1??), collect the lunchbox and bring them home. So this will not clutter his schoolbag with excess baggage. If you take one step back but negotiate for the above, at least you get to eat with him(the time spent also is short enough for them to permit), it is still a satisfactory arrangement, rather then totally being shutoff by only dropping the lunch off.
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Postby daisyt » Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:32 am

In my child's primary school, the same thing. All visitors, including parents and graduated students must register at the security booth, exchange your ID/student pass for a visitor pass, before going in. However, there is a Parent's Corner (near the car park and entrance), a sheltered area with many benches for parents to wait for their kids at anytime. Maybe you can suggest to the school to set up such area.

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Postby Amos2010 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:01 am

ks2me wrote:What I meant was:

Don't wait in the school, but request to return and go to the canteen to see your child finish lunch(I assume is P1??), collect the lunchbox and bring them home. So this will not clutter his schoolbag with excess baggage. If you take one step back but negotiate for the above, at least you get to eat with him(the time spent also is short enough for them to permit), it is still a satisfactory arrangement, rather then totally being shutoff by only dropping the lunch off.


Thanks ! I found my first reply to you above was too short, and it would give people an impression that I am not polite. I edited it. But meantime, a few other messages came in.

I see you point. Actually, this school does not limite the number of times I visit. I cerainly can go back again to collect the lunch box.

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Postby Guest » Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:05 am

Btw, I don't find you confrontational at all, so no worries. I believe these are very typical parents' concerns especially when children are in lower primary level.

Just that, choose the battles to fight, such ones no use fighting, drain yourself only. Just get your objective met to let your child enjoy home-cooked meal and scoot off after seeing to that.
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