New year, new school, new friends

From left: Muhammad Aiman Aqmal Nor Md having breakfast before his first day at Shuqun Primary School, and then stopping for a photo with his neighbour Grace Tng. Right: Grace, too, is all set to head to school for her first day. Form teacher Lily Ye
Form teacher Lily Yew (background, right) and co-form teacher Emily Aw (in light blue) playing games with their Primary 1 pupils in Fern Green Primary School yesterday. The school was the only new primary school to open in Singapore yesterday. The pupils will spend the first week getting to know their new classmates and settling into the new school. ST PHOTOS: GAVIN FOO
From left: Muhammad Aiman Aqmal Nor Md having breakfast before his first day at Shuqun Primary School, and then stopping for a photo with his neighbour Grace Tng. Right: Grace, too, is all set to head to school for her first day. Form teacher Lily Ye
Muhammad Aiman Aqmal Nor Md having breakfast (above) before his first day at Shuqun Primary School, and then stopping for a photo with his neighbour Grace Tng.ST PHOTOS: GAVIN FOO
From left: Muhammad Aiman Aqmal Nor Md having breakfast before his first day at Shuqun Primary School, and then stopping for a photo with his neighbour Grace Tng. Right: Grace, too, is all set to head to school for her first day. Form teacher Lily Ye
Muhammad Aiman Aqmal Nor Md having breakfast before his first day at Shuqun Primary School, and then stopping for a photo with his neighbour Grace Tng (above).ST PHOTOS: GAVIN FOO
From left: Muhammad Aiman Aqmal Nor Md having breakfast before his first day at Shuqun Primary School, and then stopping for a photo with his neighbour Grace Tng. Right: Grace, too, is all set to head to school for her first day. Form teacher Lily Ye
Grace, too, is all set to head to school for her first day.ST PHOTOS: GAVIN FOO
From left: Muhammad Aiman Aqmal Nor Md having breakfast before his first day at Shuqun Primary School, and then stopping for a photo with his neighbour Grace Tng. Right: Grace, too, is all set to head to school for her first day. Form teacher Lily Ye
Parents keeping a watchful eye on their children during recess in the canteen. Fern Green Primary School uses an app called Class Dojo to share reports on the pupils with parents, along with photographs showing what goes on in class. “Young parents are tech savvy... we are leveraging technology to a large extent to engage with them,” said the school’s principal, Mrs May Tang.ST PHOTOS: GAVIN FOO

Fern Green Primary School in Sengkang opens with pioneer batch of 240 P1 pupils

Madam Rizalia Abdul Rahim and her daughter Qalesya Alya woke up early yesterday for their first day in school - she as a teacher on a new posting, and Qalesya as a Primary 1 pupil in the same school.

Adding to the excitement was the fact that their school - Fern Green Primary School - was starting classes for the first time.

Qalesya belongs to the first batch of 240 Primary 1 pupils at the school in Fernvale Link. It was the only new primary school to open in Singapore yesterday.

The cohort is among 38,000 pupils who are enrolled in Primary 1 this year, said the Ministry of Education.

Madam Rizalia, 35, who teaches Malay language, was transferred to the new school in Sengkang from White Sands Primary School in Pasir Ris, where she taught for 13 years.

"I initially wanted to enrol Qalesya in Sengkang Green Primary School, which is nearer to my place. But I thought it would be interesting to enrol her in a pioneer batch, where a lot of new ideas can be injected," said Madam Rizalia, who will not be teaching her daughter's class.

Qalesya, who counts English, Malay and art as her favourite subjects, said: "In school, I will call her Madam Rizalia."

The pupils will spend the first week getting to know their new classmates and settling into the new school.

School principal May Tang said there will be no formal teaching and the pupils will have activities such as setting their class rules and taking tours of the school compound. The pupils have only white and green physical education attire.

There will be no school uniform or school song for the first year at least, said Mrs Tang, who was principal of Changkat Primary School for seven years. She wants the school identity to be formed before the uniform is designed and school song composed with input from staff, parents and pupils.

The school uses an app called Class Dojo to share reports on the pupils with parents, along with photographs showing what goes on in class. "Young parents are tech savvy... we are leveraging technology to a large extent to engage with them," said Mrs Tang.

In Jurong West yesterday, Grace Tng and her neighbour Muhammad Aiman Aqmal Nor Md got up early for their first day at Shuqun Primary School.

The friends, who went to the same kindergarten, had spent Monday night getting prepared, such as by labelling their books.

Both families went to school together, with the children in their new uniforms - Aiman in blue and Grace in pink.



ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

P1 pupils get first taste of recess time

Thousands of Primary 1 pupils began their first day of school yesterday, as anxious parents stood around nearby watching over them. Over at Fern Green
Primary School, which opened its doors to its first batch of 240 pupils yesterday, parents were allowed to spend recess time with their children in the
school canteen. Ms Rizalia Abdul Rahim, 35, who is also a teacher at the school, was on hand to help her daughter, Qalesya Alya, six, tuck into her meal.
Recess, which is usually 30 minutes, was extended to an hour on the school's first day. About 38,000 children enrolled in Primary 1 yesterday, according
to the Ministry of Education.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2018, with the headline 'New year, new school, new friends'. Print Edition | Subscribe