SINGAPORE – The national anthem rang out in Fern Green Primary School for the first time on Tuesday morning (Jan 2), as its first batch of Primary 1 pupils began their day in school.
They are among 38,000 pupils in Singapore who are enrolled in Primary 1 this year.
In the new school in Fernvale Link, 240 children in eight classes, wearing white and green PE attire, attended lessons and got to know their new classmates.
School principal May Tang said the first week of school is dedicated to helping the pupils settle in. There will be no formal teaching conducted and the pupils will have activities such as setting their class rules and taking tours of the school compound.
On Tuesday morning, parents accompanied their children during recess, which lasted an hour instead of the usual 30 minutes.
Said Mrs Tang, who was principal of Changkat Primary School in Simei for seven years: “Tomorrow , there will still be guided recess. Staff will be in the canteen supporting them, such as in placing their food orders and ensuring they get the right change.”
There will be no school uniform or school song for the first year at least, said Mrs Tang. She wants a school identity to be formed before the uniform and school song are created, with input from staff, parents and pupils.
She also pointed out that because of the school’s location in a young estate, most of the parents are young.
“Young parents are tech savvy. As such, we are leveraging technology to a large extent to engage with them.”
The school uses an app called Class Dojo to share reports on pupil behaviour with parents, along with photographs showing what goes on in class.
The school also plans to set up a parent support group.
Mr Joshua Fong, 38, who is self-employed in the religious artefacts industry, and Ms Kristy Lim, 29, a customer service representative, enrolled their daughter Lavigne in the school.
“We enrolled her here so that she can be in the pioneer batch, in a new school with new facilities. Also, she doesn’t have to travel very far to get to school,” said Mr Fong.
The school is located right next to Kupang LRT station, which is linked to Sengkang MRT station on the North-East Line.
Another parent is Madam Rizalia Abdul Rahim, 35, who is a Malay language teacher in the new school, where her daughter Qalesya Alya is enrolled.
Madam Rizalia transferred 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,” she said.
“It also helps me in monitoring her as she is within my sight, and makes communication with her teachers easier as we are colleagues in school,” 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.”
In Jurong West, Grace Tng and her neighbour Muhammad Aiman Aqmal Nor Md got up early in the morning for their first day at Shuqun Primary School.
The friends, who went to the same kindergarten, had spent Monday night getting prepared, such as labelling their books and getting their uniforms ready.
The two families travelled to the primary school together, with the two children in their new shoes and uniforms – Aiman in blue and Grace in pink.