Saturday, January 20, 2018

New Year New Challenge in 2018 (selecting primary school and after school care)

She bring 2 bags to school daily. 1 for school and 1 for student care (change of clothes)

Cherie turned 7 this year and had started to attend primary school (referring to first grade in some countries) from 2nd January 2018.

As Singapore is a small country, there are quite a number of primary school available around the same neighborhood (depends whether it's new estate or mature estate - new estate have more young couples hence the number of school available is higher to meet the demands. Old estate has been merging some school together due to lower application rate and the primary school which I attended was one of the being merged school).

In Singapore, parents can apply for a place for their children the year before they turn 7 at the school they preferred no matter the distance of the school from your home provided you can get the allocation.

Applying for primary school is an intense stress job for me. I used to wake up around 5:30am~6am and take 30 minutes bus to the nearest bus interchange near my primary school and that's not inclusive of bus waiting time and around 10 to 15 minutes walk from interchange to the school! I was almost late everyday and I was being told by the disciplinary master to try get up earlier and leave home earlier to reach school on time but I already wakes up and leave home before the sunrise (primary school in Singapore starts from 7:30am).

To avoid C&C suffer like me, I was determined to apply a school which is near to our home so they do not need to sacrifice their sleep time like me. Going to school is one thing, the time spend on going back home is another thing.

However, the school which is nearest to our home has been popular since the first year they started their operation. I guess it's because as this area is new estate, there are a lot of young couples with young kids and the population of this area are still continuing growing.

When subscription is over the total seat available there will be a balloting session. There are few application phases available and we can only wait till the allocation which opens to public (they have phases for sibling - priority for children who have siblings already in school, parents volunteer... Come to talk about parents volunteer, as it is not confirm you will get the allocation even you worked as parents volunteer for around 40 hours hence I didn't actually tried. I would have try it if it's confirmed that I can get a seat by working as a parent volunteer).

I can't describe how nervous I was about the balloting but as usual, I did plan for alternative if I couldn't get the school I want.

I did not have enough leave so I asked the hubby to go for the balloting and he is usually calmer than me so I wouldn't want to embarrass  myself in public (I might cry due to stress *lol*). We were lucky! Cherie's name was finally called at the 97th. There were 102 seat but around 210 children applied. When hubby message me I still told him to check carefully and hope that it's not someone else who have similar name. He took a photo of the name board with the number and watsapp to me. To be frank I shed tears in the office as I was too stressed about it! Luckily I didn't go to see the balloting physically if not I might cry out on the spot.

After the confirmed outcome, another challenge for me will be applying for student care (also known as after school care). Due to popularity, the student care will choose student randomly and it is not confirmed that Cherie can get a seat for student care. It's another waiting game for my weak heart again. I just proceed to apply for it and in the mean time sourced for other available private student care around our home as a back up plan. I managed to find a private tuition center which also provides after school care with slightly higher cost than the primary school's in-house student care but it provides tuition services.

Just a further explanation on student care / after school care, it's similar like childcare services which provides the children lunch and tea break, place to shower and take nap, supervise them to do homework and make sure they learn and prepare their school's spelling. The student care in the primary school are run by individual private operator but from what I know they don't provide tuition services. The private student care service provided by private tuition center actually inclusive of tuition services which I think its more effective compare to sending the children to separate tuition. The child will be able to complete their homework, learnt their spelling and receive tuition all during normal week day before the parents fetch them in the evening and working parents who came home after a whole day work won't be having double stress by the children's incomplete homework at night.

I did contemplating whether should I try out to apply the private tuition center but as the center is about 10 to 15 minutes walk from the school, though the private student care did inform in their website that they will arrange school bus services to pick up the children from their school but each school day has different end school time and I was wondering what if Cherie missed the bus will she be able to walk to the private student care when its raining?

After approximately one month of waiting, we received the information that Cherie has been accept by the primary school's in-house student care which sort of solve my problem. But I will observe by the time when Cherie reach primary three whether she has the need of tuition as I think if she needs it, the tuition center's student care will be more suitable as they provides 1 hour tuition of different subject everyday (Monday to Thursday and Friday is other enrichment lesson).

It's easy to be working mother in Singapore nowadays as we have a lot of choices and apps to help us lessen our burden. Why stress when you can outsource? We just keep our parental duty to keep the children happy & healthy and outsource all other "work" to those professional. (>.^)

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