Wednesday, 20 July 2016

School stories #18: Get into the PSLE fray? Not me.

There has been a flood of reactions, opinions and questions from parents since MOE released their new grading system last Wednesday.

Many acknowledge that doing away with the fine differentiation is a step in the right direction but wonder if it will help to reduce stress levels in our children.

Some feel it might get more stressful.

One thing is for sure.

There is no perfect system and it is hard to please every parent.

As for me, I will do no different with Kate than I have done with my 5 other kids.

In fact, it is good news for us because now the choice of school has more weightage than before. It will be taken into consideration not just once, but twice, in the event of a tie.

If Kate so happens to be tied with a few other students fighting for the last place in a particular school, they will look at choice order before putting them in the ballot box.

Although I doubt she will be in that situation because for her first choice, I will likely select a school with an entry point which she can comfortably get into.

I have learnt to look further as there is the issue of streaming at the end of secondary 2.

I made that mistake with #1, where she scrapped in to the school of her choice.

During streaming, she was near the bottom of her cohort and did not manage to choose the subjects she was strong in, which affected her O level grades.

I am waiting for MOE to roll out more information over the next few years to illustrate every single school's specialised programme and shortlist those within close proximity of our house.

With more details, we parents can make an informed decision to match the interest and learning needs of our children to the distinctive programmes the schools are offering.
Where's your ladder leading to?
MOE can come up with new grading systems and new criteria, but if mindsets do not change, nothing much will change, and our education system will be as stressful as ever.

Before we pour all our resources in the race to the top, have we thought long and hard about whether this is the best ladder to climb?

The worst thing is to reach the top only to wonder if it has been the right ladder all along.

How I have managed to remain calm and not get sucked into the academic frenzy these past 12 years is to look at things from a broader perspective.

Yes, the PSLE is a big exam.

A bigger question I constantly ask myself is, do I need to look past the PSLE?

What are we preparing our kids for?

I don't know about you, but I am preparing my kids for a future which I cannot foresee.

Hence, I am trying to guide them to be adaptable and unafraid to face challenges.

To be able to think and communicate their ideas.

To see mistakes as learning opportunities and be able to pick themselves up when they fail.

To ensure that they are future-ready, they need to be good problem-solvers, analytical thinkers, with strong interpersonal skills.

I have been trying to build these skills and traits in them from the time they were young through the way I parent and the opportunities I find along the way. However, I have not been able to find a systematic way to do it.

When I met this speech pathologist and discovered how her team of education specialist has been working with children quietly but doggedly over the past decade, I knew that this was the missing piece of the puzzle.

Since I haven't been able to find a solution to address this need, the next best thing was to come up with a solution!

We have spent the past year working on this new initiative to ensure that the successes she has seen with individual children can be replicated in a group enrichment setting.

It was really interesting how during one of our training sessions, my ex-MOE teacher was sharing that when she spoke to her group of teacher friends about our curriculum, the secondary school teachers assumed that the primary school teachers were teaching such skills while the primary school teachers felt that they already had too much content to teach, and expected (or hoped) that most of their students came with such skills intact.

Therein lies a huge gap we have unearthed.

There is a whole set of skills which are expected of children in a classroom setting, such as being able to pay attention and focus, listening to instructions, planning, prioritising and initiating tasks, displaying impulse control, besides having higher order thinking skills such as visualisation, sequential organization, inference and deduction, perception and memory recall. And the list goes on. 

However, these cognitive skills are not explicitly developed in children and parents only start to see the problems when they enter formal education.

I believe that by giving Kate a solid foundation in acquiring these fundamental executive functioning skills, and equipping her with the right mindset and learning habits, it will set her up for successes in future, whichever path she might choose to pursue.

I am really excited to observe for myself the impact of this programme on Kate and how it might shape her learning in a positive way.
A happy learning environment
Kids these days are shunted from school to tuition and learning has lost its meaning.

Children should never lose their love of learning and we make an effort to design our classes to be fun because kids learn best through play, and there is always laughter to be heard around here.

It will be a long yet enriching journey ahead as we guide parents towards this very new concept. In some children, the change may be quite apparent but in others, nothing may seem to be surfacing even though a lot of learning is taking place.

Every child we see transformed, even in small ways, gives us great joy and satisfaction.

As a team, this is what continues to inspire and motivate us in this journey of impacting the next generation of children.

Our next Open House is on 6 August 2016, for N2 to P1 children. Do book a slot for a trial class and come along to find out more about what we are doing.

We will be running 4 sessions at 9.15am, 11.30am, 2pm and 4pm.

More details can be found over at The Little Executive's Facebook page while we are getting our website ready.

Email us at knockknock@thelittleexecutive.asia with your child's name, age, your contact number and preferred time slot (I'm sure you can guess who came up with that email address).

School Stories:

#1 - When your son gets into fights in school
#2 - My son the loan shark
#3 - So kids can't play once they start school?
#11 - How #2 topped her level in English
#12 - DSA. Yet another initiative parents have warped
#13 - Tuition - First line of attack?
#14 - Why do exams have to be so stressful?
#15 - First day mix up!

#16 - The day I forgot to pick my son from school
#17 - No more T-score. Now what?


The Little Executive
144 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 229844
Tel: 69081889



~ www.mummyweeblog.com - a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

2 comments:

  1. I am still very early in my primary school journey, and I think reminders like these to remain sane and not be too caught up in kiasu-ism is so important! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear mummyed,

      It's great that you recognise the need to remain sane. That's a really good place to start. Although, to prep you, I have seen most mums succumb to the peer pressure once their kids enter primary school! It's an uphill battle to stand for what we believe in, I tell you :)

      Delete

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