Tuesday, January 5, 2010 ;
8:34 PM
Yesterday morning was 1st day of school for all the govt schools in Singapore.
It was raining rather heavily in the western part of Sg.

Resulted in the school buses being really late.

Both ds slept late (due to excitement?), and woke really early, especially for ds1. The moment he heard us get up from bed, he came over to our room and said, "I checked my watch, it's time to go to school!"

So we got ready in time, leisurely in fact... And I accompanied Dh and ds1 down to wait for his school bus, which was supposed to pick him up at 7am.
But the bus came at 7.15am.

Anyway, this is ds1 being really excited. (The P1 kids were instructed to wear their name tags for the entire 1st week of school. It has their bus info and class info on it, as well as their names.

Down at the void deck. Where there is a sheltered porch. At least, I don't have to walk far out like in Tianjin. Just down the elevator/ lift, and wait right there. ds1's uniform looks big on him, I felt, but wait till we see the other P1s. His shorts are at least still above his knee cap, although they're rather loose at the waist. His shoes look very big too. But it's actually just right.

Referring to the Straits Times report on Sunday regarding the expenses parents have to fork out for a P1 kid, I think it is much more costly than what most Sg parents spend. The average sum listed was $850 (just to start P1).

Let's see, the cost of P1 textbooks listed was more than $200. But we spent $114 and Dh was already so kiasu in buying all the books in the list. Yes, we bought even the Chinese character cards which Anna Wu wanted to pass me, argh. And all the Health Ed, Social Studies, Music and Art books. So I think it is pretty reasonable.

Then transport to school. I didn't understand why they needed $80 per month for the school bus and only one-way. I pay only $35 per month for ds1's school bus, and it's 2-way.

Other stuff like school shoes, pocket money etc, we spend much less as well. Our expenditure under assessment and enrichment books is $0, in fact. Anyway... I guess newspapers have to put up controversial examples to generate more discussion.

This is a pic of ds1 alone, with his waterbottle, watch, spects, everything new. I look at him with a funny undescribable feeling. Mixture of pride (at his independence), concern (at letting go and worry about his capability in managing money etc), reluctance (missing him already and wondering how did he grow up so fast?).....

It is a memorable milestone in his life and mine as well indeed.

He got up the school bus so quickly, he was so eager! He just said bye and went up, such that I had no time to take the photo properly. Can only see his school bag and one foot.

Dh followed the bus in his car. I went up to our apt where I had left ds2. ds2 was fine. I got him ready for his school bus. Dh checked out the school bus route. Since here in Sg, the school bus company doesn't inform us of their route, we wanted to check it out and see if it is justified that they pick ds1 up so early at 7am. The school is single session and starts at 7.45am. We don't live very far away, so I thought maybe 7.15am is more like it. (The bus came late at 7.15am anyway).

But turns out, Dh said there were still several more stops after ds1 and some stops had many kids, so sometimes they might factor in no. of kids = potentially more delay, hence ds1 has to board earlier.

After the bus reached school, Dh did not enter the school gates and came back to see ds2 up his school bus. Dh said the other cars following the bus (yes, other parents also have the same idea, naturally) did enter the school.

ds2's account will be in a separate post.

Anyway, after settling ds2 in his new school, I went back to ds1's school and took a pic of his classroom from afar. There were many parents standing right outside the classroom, some even right at the door, and some even going into the classroom to talk to the form teacher.

As a teacher myself, I didn't like the distractions, so as a parent now, I try not to do that. Seriously, if you are the child and your parents are hovering at the classroom door the whole time, can you concentrate on what the teacher is saying?

Many schools have a lot of restrictions for parents. Some cordon off an area in the lobby and canteen and parents cannot venture beyond those areas, but ds1's school seemed pretty relaxed. I saw parents wandering all over the school.

There are some pics in a later post showing parents following their kids all around the school as the teachers were bringing them from classroom to other places.

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