Priority admission for MOE kindergartens

Let child start with clean slate in primary school

It is a logical move for children attending kindergarten in co-located primary schools to move on accordingly (MOE kindergarten pupils to get priority in P1 entry; Nov 28).

Yes, a sense of environmental familiarity helps to ease the transition.

But pre-schoolers need more than just environmental familiarity, they need a strong sense of social and emotional support from primary school teachers too.

They need to feel secure and accepted by the people in the new environment.

There are pros and cons of sharing details of children's progress with Primary 1 teachers.

I would prefer each teacher to take on each child with fresh lenses rather than with coloured lenses passed on from the previous teacher.

Children's learning and development are dynamic. Therefore, each child progresses differently at various developmental phases, whether as an individual or in comparison with their peers.

My point is, progress reports are good enough as snapshots of that transient period of development at the point of assessment or observation. By the time the progress report is passed on to another teacher, it may not provide an accurate picture of a child's current progress and development.

It is critical that teachers exercise caution in receiving passed-on progress reports and considering whether it is with each child's best interest at heart.

I also hope there is close collaboration between primary school and pre-school teachers, where pre-school teachers are allowed in the classroom to help to settle children having difficulties in the initial transition.

Transitioning to primary school is a big milestone for little children, from a general play-based environment to a more academic-based curriculum.

They need adults around them to exercise empathy and compassion beyond the walls of environmental familiarity.

Rebecca Chan (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2017, with the headline 'Let child start with clean slate in primary school'. Print Edition | Subscribe