Preparing your child for the big move to sec 1 is not an easy task. Some parents may over-prepare and pile on extra stress onto your child. Yet other parents leave too much to chance, and the child may feel inadequately prepared as a result.
The key is in finding a balance to help your child know what to expect in their first year of secondary school, while giving them enough free reign to adapt and grow through this transition period.
Now that you’ve received your school postings, it’s time to get serious about preparing for sec 1. Let’s see what steps you can take to bridge this time before the first day of school rolls around.
In this article:
- Practical steps for preparing for Sec 1
- Good habits to cultivate in Sec 1
Practical steps for preparing for Sec 1
Buy textbooks and uniform
Once you know your child’s secondary school posting, you will soon receive a list of school supplies to order for your child. The list includes textbooks and school uniform.
Placing your order early allows you some buffer time in case any of the books are unavailable or out of stock from the school’s supplier (yes, it happens!). Going through this process, and then seeing the books and uniform at home, also helps this change sink into your minds and prepare your child mentally for the new school.
Get familiar with the school grounds
Your child will be spending at least 4 years in this new school. Start off on the right foot by orientating them with the school grounds, either through the open house or separate school visit.
Take a trip to school with your child via public transport to familiarise them with the route, especially if they will be commuting to and from school by themselves once school starts. You don’t want your child panicking or getting lost on their way to school during the first week of school!
Adjust sleeping routine
Secondary school classes tend to end later than primary school classes, even before adding on other activities like CCAs, supplementary classes, or remedial lessons.
Generally, your tween child will need to adapt to the increased hours and rigour, while maintaining a healthy rest schedule. If your child has been taking afternoon naps, it’s time to phase it out this year-end. One week before school starts, it’s also good to adjust their waking hours close to the time they need to wake up for school.
If your child has been attending tuition classes for some subjects in primary school, you might already be looking for secondary school tutors for your child. Even if tuition has never been a thing for your child, it’s a good idea to start shopping for tutors, keeping in mind the suitable ones near your child’s school or home.
Being prepared ensures that in the event your child cannot keep up with the increased academic demands of secondary school, you know where to turn to for help.
Good habits to cultivate in Sec 1
Apart from the practical things you should be doing to prepare your child for sec 1, there are also some good habits and mindsets you should think about instilling in your child. After all, they are growing up into teenagers, and they will need to be more independent than they were in primary school. Here are some particular important areas to develop:
Primary school timetables are quite predictable, but secondary school schedules are much more complex. For example, your child will need to keep track of their CCA days and other extra classes they need to stay back in school for. Then, there are tests and exams that may take place every term, and graded quizzes or assessments scattered throughout the weeks.
Some schools also have alternate week timetables, where odd- and even-numbered week timetables are different. If your child has not cultivated a good time organisation system, now’s the time to help them learn how to use a planner to get everything up to speed.
Many students feel the leap between P6 to Sec 1, due to the increased depth and demands of the academic syllabus. Thus, just ‘winging’ it won’t be enough anymore, if you want to do well in secondary school. More consistent revision will help students internalise the new concepts more readily, and avoid that last-minute panic when the exams loom.
Encourage your child to set aside time every day or week to review what they have learnt, aside from just finishing their homework. Regular tuition classes can also help them do this.
If you’ve been that ‘helicopter parent’ up till now, this is the time to begin taking a step back. Especially for the elite schools and IP schools in Singapore, secondary school should be a step towards more independent learning.
Focus on helping your child instil good learning habits that they can execute themselves, rather than hand-holding them through every piece of homework or exam revision. Part of this process is letting them find out what systems work best for them, such as whether they like to draw mind maps, make flashcards, study for long blocks of hours or in short spurts, and what subjects they enjoy best.
Walking with your child through Sec 1
As educators, we know how important it is to support your child through this step up in their life stage. As such, we also want to help you along in this journey!
What we do best is tutoring students through their academic subjects, be it sciences, math, English, Chinese, or other subjects. We do this through nurturing small group classes led by expert tutors, who are minimally NIE-trained teachers or experienced tutors. We also offer exclusive IP tuition classes such as IP Chemistry tuition, or IP English tuition.
Drop us a message or register online for a class now!