First day of school: No jitters for family second time around for kid going to Primary 1

Mr Jeffrey Tng and his daughter Grace Joy shop for a new watch.
Mr Jeffrey Tng and his daughter Grace Joy shop for a new watch.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Grace Joy shows her new watch to her friend Muhammad Aiman Aqmal Bin Nor Md, who will be starting Primary One with her at Shuqun Primary School.
Grace Joy shows her new watch to her friend Muhammad Aiman Aqmal Bin Nor Md, who will be starting Primary One with her at Shuqun Primary School.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Six-year-old Grace Joy, who is set to start Primary One this year, labels her books with help from her dad.
Six-year-old Grace Joy, who is set to start Primary One this year, labels her books with help from her dad.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - When their first child, Gloria, started primary school 11 years ago, Mr Jeffrey Tng, 50, and his wife Marius Chin, 46, were nervous.

"We did not have a precedent, and we probably did not have as many neighbours and people we could exchange information with," said Mr Tng, a senior IT engineer.

This year, the couple have things all planned out - their second daughter, Grace, will be enrolling in Shuqun Primary School on Tuesday (Jan 2). She is among the 38,000 pupils the Ministry of Education said will be enrolling in Primary 1 this year.

Grace, six, said she was neither scared nor nervous about her first day and was also excited about going to school.

"We are more prepared the second time round," said Ms Chin, an executive assistant in an audit firm.

They bought Grace's shoes, uniforms and books in November, during the school registration exercise. The couple were able to exchange notes this time around with other parents who live near the school.

They also spoke to Grace to prepare her mentally on what to expect for school, but are not that worried as they feel kindergarten helped their daughter to improve her confidence and social skills.


Six-year-old Grace Joy Tng learns how to iron her school uniform. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

"Also, a lot of her friends in the kindergarten are going to the same school," said Mr Tng, adding that the couple expect Grace to be comfortable in school with familiar faces.

One familiar face is her neighbour, six-year-old Muhammad Aiman Aqmal Nor Md. On Monday night, the two made preparations for school, such as labelling their books and getting their uniforms ready.

Mr Tng and Ms Chin said that they will be supportive of whatever academic or co-curricular pursuits Grace chooses.

"I don't think parents should try to live their dreams in a child. If we see that she has interests in certain areas, then we will just have to encourage her towards that direction," said Mr Tng.