First day of school for former new year baby

Six-year-old Damien and his sister Olivia (left picture), eight, are ready for the first day of school today. Damien (right picture), one of the first four babies born in 2011, will be starting Primary 1 at Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary School, whil
Six-year-old Damien and his sister Olivia (left picture), eight, are ready for the first day of school today. Damien (right picture), one of the first four babies born in 2011, will be starting Primary 1 at Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary School, while his sister will enter Primary 3.ST PHOTOS: CHEW SENG KIM, CAROLINE CHIA

Six years ago, Damien Foong was born at the stroke of midnight at Mount Alvernia Hospital while revellers all over Singapore rang in the new year with fireworks, making him one of the first four babies born in 2011.

Today will be another first for Damien - he will be starting Primary 1 at Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary School in Bishan.

Yesterday, his father, IT manager Donovan Foong, 46, prepared Damien for his first day at school by taking him for a haircut, buying school supplies and packing his bag.

Mr Foong said he is confident that Damien can adapt to school fast. "Psychologically, I think he is ready. He is an outgoing boy and tends to make many friends."

Still, he is slightly worried that Damien, who turned six on Sunday, might face problems when it comes to academics since he is the youngest among his peers. Under the Compulsory Education Act, children born between Jan 2, 2010, and Jan 1, 2011, both dates inclusive, have to enter Primary 1 this year.

In contrast, Damien is not worried. "I am excited about school and want to make new friends."

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday posted an Instagram message for students who are starting school: "For those starting in a new school, be yourself, get to know your classmates and teachers, and enjoy your new adventure.

"For those returning to school, I wish you an inspiring year of discovery and learning."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2017, with the headline 'First day of school for former new year baby'. Print Edition | Subscribe