Stumbled upon this kiasu site via Facebook.... how cool!

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Stumbled upon this kiasu site via Facebook.... how cool!

Postby PowerPuff Mum » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:50 pm

Hi I am PowerPuff Mum,
Mother to 2 bright and affectionate children. My son is 10 and my daughter is 7. They are both studying at the same neighbourhood school which is only 5 mins drive from home and if you walk, will probably take 10 mins at most.
I read with about how anxious parents are about which school they want to send to, concerns about grades, GEP etc.. I can totally relate and empathise to all this now.
As we have lived in Australia for awhile ( we are both Singaporeans), we did not give all that much thought about which school we wanted to send our son to and decided on the nearest school to our home. We were very surprised when some "well meaning" friends told us it is "such a waste" that we are sending our son to a neighbourhood school as he is such a bright child. Frankly, I took offence to that.
Is the Singapore education system bears so much disparity in standards that parents can make such comments? Does it mean that if you go to a neighbourhood school, you have no future? It is certainly offensive and show how narrow minded these people are.
Our humble school turned out to be a real gem. We have an astute principal and dedicated teachers who in turn has made their education journey a very fulfilling and stimulating one . Our children love their school and are doing very well.. thank you very much!
We are hands-on parents who work closely with the school and also spend a great deal of our time nurturing and coaching our own children.
We volunteer at school regularly and also help raise funds for the school.
We have the same issues other parents have, it is part and parcel of raising children in this highly competitive environment.
Our hope is that here we will find parents who really cares about their children's holistic development and not just in their academic success and be able to share parenting ideas and experiences.

PowerPuff Mum
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Re: Stumbled upon this kiasu site via Facebook.... how cool!

Postby ChiefKiasu » Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:59 am

Hi PowerPuff Mum, welcome to KiasuParents.com! I wouldn't pay much attention to comments on my children's schools, good or bad, especially from those who have not even step within the premises. There are no bad schools in Singapore. Under the guidance of dedicated teachers, children from neighbourhood schools have graced the honor list of PSLE graduates almost every year.

It might appear strange that you think you can find rational thinking from a "kiasu parents" portal, but I guess you have discovered our secret - we are just a red herring for kiasu parents :). Each post gives a little more insight into the challenges of parenting in Singapore, and provides comfort to some parent out there from the knowledge that they are not alone, and that there is nothing really wrong with their children despite their carelessness, untidyness, lack of focus, and failing in exams. They motivate us to want to become better parents for our kids.

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Postby PowerPuff Mum » Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:25 pm

Hi Chief,
That's primarily why I signed up. I think we should be in the know the way things work in the education system and then work on how to help our children cope and enjoy the process.

As parents, we don't know everything.. there's been time you can be totally bewildered but it is good to have a support group to share "best practices" and also provide the much needed reference points from others.. after all every child are unique in their own way.

I find the education system here extremely gruelling and unforgiving. Even when the government stressed on " Teach less, learn more" it really means teachers teach less and students have to know more! How are they going to do that? I guess the answer is obvious.. the parents has to do their part or outsource it to enrichment centres or super tutors so... there's not less work for the children in the end.

Their school day includes tuition, enrichment, CCAs etc ... when do they get to play, run around and catch spider. I am saddened by the way the children are schceduled daily, there's no rest. Even if parents do not send them for tuitions etc, they have homework, projects.. and it goes on..

I find all these talk about cutting down streaming etc are just talk.. the kids still are streamed and banded like cattle. The students who come from well to do families are able to go for the best enrichment and tutors.. everybody else have to figure it out themselves. So much for meritrocracy.

So can you blame the parents for being so competitive and selfish? I think this situation is self inflicted. We created this situation and we have yet to overcome the monster we have created. Many countries can produce brilliant academics who are also all rounded individuals but we are so lagging behind in this respect. We have produced students who scores well in exams and has little else. They have poor social and communication skills and knowledge of the "real" world.

It is a constant challenge to try to provide an all round education for our kids even for us when there just little time a day. I am sure you can sense my frustration as we believe so much on holistic education. Our children are doing well in school, they are in the top 10% of their cohort. But that is not all that we seek, as we continue juggling and trying to get along with the education system, I foresee it wil be a continous challenge for at least another 12 years!

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Postby jedamum » Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:47 am

PowerPuff Mum wrote:I find all these talk about cutting down streaming etc are just talk.. the kids still are streamed and banded like cattle. The students who come from well to do families are able to go for the best enrichment and tutors.. everybody else have to figure it out themselves. So much for meritrocracy.


Hi PowerPuff Mum,
Welcome to KSP. 8)

As for streaming, it has been packaged in the way that it is supposed to be more beneficial as kids can learned at their own pace. Problems arise when the kid (in particular YOUR/OUR kid) is at the 'upper end' of the lesser desired stream/class/band (eg high end of band 2/3). Then we will question how one or a few tests can denote how capable our kids are.

Students who came from well to do families surely will have an advantage. But let's take consolation that while scholars (assuming from well to do family with years of enrichment/tuition) may likely end up in civil service, entrepreneurs are usually regulars like the rest of us, but who are streetsmart, have lifeskills and is resilient to failure.

I don't see why you should be frustrated when you believe in holistic education and that your kids are currently coping well in school. When we tell our kids about the dangers of peer pressure, we too pause and take a look to see if we as parents had also succumb to peer pressure in the bid to try to 'stay within the system'.

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Postby PowerPuff Mum » Wed Nov 12, 2008 12:33 pm

jedamum wrote:I don't see why you should be frustrated when you believe in holistic education and that your kids are currently coping well in school. When we tell our kids about the dangers of peer pressure, we too pause and take a look to see if we as parents had also succumb to peer pressure in the bid to try to 'stay within the system'.


Hi Jedamum,
I agree with you on this.... there's got to be a line when you say that's good enough and accept it. I guess it all boils down to expectations.

I am frustrated becos having lived in Australia for awhile, I have a tendency to compare the education system with Singapore's. It's totally different. Please don't shoot me for feeling this way but I do wish we don't have such a gruelling and hireachical system so that family and student life will be less stressful.

They do not have exams so frequently, mainly asessments and reviews at year 4, at year 6 and at year 10 ( O levels)! At Year 12 there's a major exams "A" levels before uni studies.

Students are "streamed " based on their learning style rather than grades. There are alot of emphasis on holistic education and individual development so students get alot of hands on projects, field trips and journal writing part from the classroom time as they are all on single session or full day session. Less stress for parents as they spend more time working with their children on school projects rather than mugging for exams every 2 -3 months.

There alot of parental involvement in school as well. They have parent duties on fixed days to help in the canteen or in classes and parents are happy to volunteer for school enrichments, field trips etc for their own children's benefit and leading by example.. not necessarily just so that they can get into that school.

As the class size are smaller about 20-25, teachers has more time to focus on each child. Children who are high ability are grouped together and given the appropriate programs to "stretch" them. Most importantly, 1st language is English and you can choose 2nd and/or 3rd language if the child is able. How a child fare in these languages does not affect their overall performance as it is not taken as an aggregate with the rest of subjects. So they don't have the mother tongue problem alot of us face here which mean students have more time to focus on core subjects i.e. English, Maths and Science.

There a major emphasis on sports and every single child will have a chance to represent his /her school for one activitiy or another. This a great way to build self confidence and promote sense of identity.

Of cos we are not comparing apple to apple here, just by sheer demographics and scale.. they don't have more than 500 students per school whereas we have an average of 1500. Singapore is totally different kettle of fish altogether.
Even so, I can understand why some migrate to avoid the "grilling".

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Postby jedamum » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:37 pm

PowerPuff Mum wrote:
I am frustrated becos having lived in Australia for awhile, I have a tendency to compare the education system with Singapore's. It's totally different. Please don't shoot me for feeling this way but I do wish we don't have such a gruelling and hireachical system so that family and student life will be less stressful.

Maybe that's why there is a hot demand for seats in International Schools. :?:

Having gone through the local education system and not venture out into the 'World', I guess I am a frog in the well :oops: . I'm just contented that my kids get to have a safe environment and opportunity to study.

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Postby sunflower » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:14 pm

Hi PowerPuff Mum, I suppose you stayed in Australia due to work assignment. Just wondering, given a choice, would you continue to stay in Australia for your children’s education?

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Postby PowerPuff Mum » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:45 pm

sunflower wrote:Hi PowerPuff Mum, I suppose you stayed in Australia due to work assignment. Just wondering, given a choice, would you continue to stay in Australia for your children’s education?


Hi Sunflower,
That's a trick question, right?! :)
The answer will be a resounding YES!
Just cos I agree with the concept and think children are all special in their own way and we should allow them to grow and bloom at their own pace.
There are children who "blooms" later and in our system.. these kids don't stand a chance which is sad.

They should also have time to unwind and enjoy the learning process... think out of the box, be able to unravel mysteries in a unhurried pace.
I also believe that the learning journey should be enlightening and a path to be enjoyed.

I like the part where parents are proactively involved in the process of learning too.

From my own personal experience, I did my uni studies in Australia as well, I find that their tertiary students are far more insightful, all rounder, critical thinkers and better communicators than ours.

That's just my point of view of cos..

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Postby ChiefKiasu » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:56 pm

PowerPuff Mum wrote:...From my own personal experience, I did my uni studies in Australia as well, I find that their tertiary students are far more insightful, all rounder, critical thinkers and better communicators than ours...


The grass seems to be always greener on the other side, regardless of which side we are on :)

I spent 5 years in one of the better state universities in the US, and I noted that almost all Singaporeans in the student community were able to compete well against the Americans even though they struggled in the Singapore system. Thanks to the education system we went through, the average Singaporean can easily get very high GPAs. However, thanks to the same education system, the best Singaporean student is still far below the best American student in terms of level of depth in thinking. So yes, what we have here is a factory for producing a good and high quality workforce. What we are missing is the production of really good leaders who can and dare think out of the box.

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Postby sunflower » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:43 pm

Many thanks for your prompt reply, PowerPuff Mum! May I ask have your children been staying in Australia since young? The reason I ask is my concern regarding the second language. Are they fluent in Mandarin or do they communicate in English the whole time they were in Australia? Do they dread taking Chinese as a subject in Singapore?

ChiefKiasu wrote:However, thanks to the same education system, the best Singaporean student is still far below the best American student in terms of level of depth in thinking.

Actually, I’m not too sure about that. I think it depends on the subject matter. My hubby’s brother went on a scholarship to one of the top uni in the States. When he first got there, he realised there were many who were better than him. He studied hard and did extremely well, getting full GPA scores and subsequently topped his whole cohort. He was even asked to do some high profile project for his faculty/or uni...(can't really remember which...)

ChiefKiasu wrote:
So yes, what we have here is a factory for producing a good and high quality workforce. What we are missing is the production of really good leaders who can and dare think out of the box.

Err… I think that’s the aim of PAP, producing “good and high quality workforce”, and I think they have succeeded. I don’t think PAP would want too many of those “really good leaders who can and dare think out of the box”… :wink:

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