8 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Primary One


I’ve recently received e-mails from readers asking about Primary One registration and preparation. While I’ve tried my best to reply to all your e-mails, I apologize if I’ve missed out any of you, or if my replies seemed too short for you.

The topic of preparing our child for Primary One is too broad, and I can’t really summarize it all in one e-mail or comment. Thus, I’m sharing with you in a blog post – which took me quite a long time to prepare. Hope you’ll find it useful.

First of all, I’d like to emphasize that preparation for Primary One does not require a major effort. In fact the simpler and more relaxed the process is, the easier and more relaxed it will be for your child. So, please bear this in mind.

In fact, the preparation process happens more naturally through the everyday experiences that we give to our children. We can provide additional opportunities for them to practice their independent and self-help skills at home too.

8 Tips for Getting Ready for Primary One (Non-academic version)

1. Learn to ask for permission & practice the proper use of toilet independently

This used to be my primary concern because Edison is a shy and quiet boy. To help him muster the courage to speak up, we role-played. I (the student) raised my hand to ask him (the teacher) for permission to be excused, and vice-versa. While he’s plucking up his courage, I also trained him on the proper use of toilet by himself.

2. Learn to pack and organize things

Children need to be taught on how to take care of their own belongings at school. Missing item is a common problem, especially on first week of school. For a record, our boy lost three water bottles within the first two weeks of school.

Teach them how to pack their school bags, organize things, label their belongings, and most importantly, keep their pocket money securely.

3. Learn to take the right bus

There are usually some forms of identification given by the bus service providers. Talk to them to understand the process, i.e. their identification method, bus number, pick-up location, emergency contact, etc.

Give yourself the confidence to know that your child can do it as long as he knows what to expect.

4. Train them to buy food and eat faster

This is obviously one of my concerns too as Edison takes half an hour to eat his meals at home. Recess time at school is only half an hour, but it also includes queuing time to buy food, finding a seat, going to the toilet, etc. At the end, he probably has just 15 minutes to eat.

I’ve repeatedly informed him that he cannot take his own sweet time to eat at school because when the bell rings, he has to go back to class.

Our children need to know how to check for food prices, count and use money to buy food, carry their own food to the table, and properly dispose their used plates and cutleries after eating.

So, we can create the opportunities for our children when we’re having meals outside. Give them a chance to decide on what they want to eat, check the prices to see whether they are within budget, count and use money independently.

If you’re still worried, you can always pack some food for your child to eat at school.

5. Build confidence & familiarize themselves with school

Between now till the start of P1, I would advise parents to start sharing their positive experiences in school with their children. Give them assurance that they will make new friends at school and have fun.

Talk to our children on what they can expect in Primary 1 – longer school hours, big school, more children, school rules, class size, what to do during recess, etc. Also, take the opportunity to familiarize themselves with school. The best time to do it is after the parent-orientation, so please spend some time to tour the school with your child.

Some of the important places include their classroom, hall, canteen, toilet, general office, bus pick-up point, dismissal point, public phone, etc. It will be good if you can take some pictures so that your child can view them regularly.

If possible, you can also introduce him to the people that he will be meeting at school, i.e. Principal, Vice Principals, Form / Co-form Teachers, Subject Teachers, etc.

6. Coping with new routines

One of the must-haves in Primary 1 is TIMETABLE. All primary school students need to adhere strictly to a timetable when they are in school. We can impart that understanding to our children before the school starts.

Time is easy to teach because children naturally love to learn it. So, start teaching them how to tell time so that they can manage their time according to the timetable.

I would advise you to create an ‘after-school’ timetable for your child too. Allocate time for him to complete his school homework every day. Also make sure he has sufficient play time and rest time too. Construct the timetable with him so that he will learn how to organize his time in a better way.

7. Teach them how to relay information between the school and parent

School will distribute notices, progress reports, and other important information to parents via the child. So, teach your child on how to do this effectively to prevent any miscommunication in the future.

8. Encourage as a family

Assure them that starting Primary School is a new and exciting experience, and it will also be fun and enjoyable. Show lots of encouragement to cope with challenges in new school. Always be positive and encouraging!

To me, I always believe that it’s more important to make learning and going to school an enjoyable process, rather than chasing for academic excellence.

8 Important Skills to Practice

1. Ask for permission
2. Buy things on their own
3. Counting and using money
4. Going to the toilet independently
5. Write their names in Chinese and English
6. Organize school bag
7. Take care of own belongings
8. Relay information between the school and parents

Entering primary school is the start of a new phase of life for all children (and parents too!). From a relaxed kindergarten to a formal education in primary school, many children will find it challenging, especially on their first day in a big school surrounded by many unfamiliar faces.

By planning ahead and having a longer perspective, we can ease our children into the primary school education system seamlessly.

Last but not least, if you have a child starting Primary One next year, I hope you and your child will have a smooth and happy start to the new school year.

Click HERE to read all my posts on Starting Primary One series


Bartley Residences Work-in-Progress: July 2014

I’ve been so busy that I’ve forgotten to update the work-in-progress of Bartley Residences for the last two months. I pass by the construction site every morning when I send our boy to school. When I see it every day, I don’t notice any major progress. But when I looked back at my April update, I can see the vast differences. That’s the beauty of documenting it on this blog.


The block facing Bartley Road (Blk 7) is now 13 storeys high. Three months ago, it was just 5 storeys. The Bodhi tree is now completely hidden behind this block.


Blk 1 seems to be the most advanced now. I took these pictures from Lorong How Sun – where the main entrance is located. Blk 1 is already painted white, and with glass panels installed.



I believe Bartley Residences is now 12 to 15 months away from its completion. It’s time to start planning and budgeting for our new home interior design and furniture. As a start, we try to get ideas from every resource possible – from magazines, websites and forums, to visiting showrooms.

Yes, condo showrooms are the best place to start. So, last weekend, we visited the Coco Palms showroom at Paris Ris Groove for some interior design inspirations. I’ve read so many positive news about this development – being the top selling project in May 2014, with over 600 units sold within 18 days since its VVIP preview.

Isn’t that a very impressive figure?

Indeed, the one and two-bedroom units are 100% sold out now. Even the three-bedrooms are almost sold out. V joked that Singaporeans are buying condos like vegetables in the market.

The theme of this development is Resort Living at Home, and its architectural inspiration is taken from some of the world’s best and most exclusive resorts. The luxury beach resort style really attracts me.

There is a huge lagoon pool (with something that looks like a man-made beach), Japanese style Onsen Bath, salt water pool, wading pool, splash pool, hydro spa, family Jacuzzi, lap pool, etc. This is certainly the first time I see a condominium with Onsen bath and so many pools!

The first moment when we took a glance at the price tag, we were completely amazed. It’s so hard to find a condo unit under $1,000 psf now, but the median price of Coco Palms is slightly below $1,000 psf. A three-bedroom unit is below $1.0M, which is really attractive. Furthermore, it’s within walking distance to MRT. No wonder it is selling like hot cakes!

Looking back at our Bartley Residences, the price is between $1,200 to $1,300 psf. It’s indeed a big investment for us, and at some point, we really felt that it’s overly priced. Two years ago, we set our mind on this property because of its ideal location. I always look forward to the day when we can finally move in, and our boy can just walk to school every morning in less than 10 minutes. It’s the price tag that is worth paying.

I’ve been searching for websites where I can sell my pre-owned furniture. And I’m so delighted to have found UsedFurnitureSingapore.net. There are a lot of helpful articles to help me find, buy, or sell my pre-owned furniture. There are also a list of movers, delivery as well as disposal services.

FurnitureSingapore.net is another comprehensive guide for furniture shoppers. It has a lot of useful articles to help me find the right place to buy furniture in Singapore. I find these two articles very useful to me: 1) Children’s Furniture, and 2) Affordable Furniture in Singapore.

It really saves me a lot of time. I don’t have to search multiple websites because FurnitureSingapore.net and UsedFurnitureSingapore.net have all the information that I need.


A Weekend Staycation at Grand Park City Hall

Travelling is one of the best ways to relax our body and soul, as well as to reconnect with our family. But if travelling is not an option due to time constraint, budget, etc, staycation is always a good alternative.

Two weeks ago, we went on a staycation at Grand Park City Hall. Strategically located in Singapore’s Civic District and a short five minutes’ drive from the CBD, Grand Park City Hall is an architectural gem with a harmonious integration of conservation shophouses in a modern architectural style.


This 333-room hotel has won the hearts of countless guests with its impeccable service, refurbished guestrooms, spacious meeting spaces, gourmet cuisine and pampering spa therapies. Its unique architectural style has also earned itself a prestigious Architectural Heritage Award.

  • Adult Guest Room

    Adult Guest Room

  • Adult Guest Room

    Adult Guest Room

The moment we stepped into our room, we were wow-ed by the spacious connecting rooms and unique children-friendly design. Little Edison giggled with delight the moment he saw the colourful bed sheets and furniture in the room. He even has his own children bathrobe!

The hotel is so thoughtful to provide complimentary activity sheets, toys and books to keep him occupied in his room.

  • Connecting Children Guest Room

    Connecting Children Guest Room

  • Connecting Children Guest Room

    Connecting Children Guest Room

Our cosily-designed room, on the other hand, features the classic tones of brown and gold wood with a huge executive work desk and high-speed Internet access.


Both connecting rooms have their own marble clad bathrooms with combined standing shower, bath tub and quality toiletries.

Beautiful City View from our Room

As part of the benefits under the ‘Staycate Plus’ package, we were given a complimentary upgrade to Crystal Club Deluxe Room.


Crystal Club Lounge

Crystal Club is Park Hotel Group’s executive club which offers exclusive indulgences for the most discerning leisure, and it’s exclusively located at the top floors. Some of the Crystal Club benefits include private check-in and check-out at the Crystal Club Lounge, complimentary breakfast and all-day light refreshments, complimentary evening cocktails and business support services.

Now, let’s check out the hotel’s pool. This is the main outdoor swimming pool, and it has a small heated Jacuzzi tucked away in the green foliage. A soak in the heated Jacuzzi instantly melt away my tiredness and stress from a long work week.


After spending an hour at the pool, we were ready to enjoy a sumptuous buffet dinner at Indulge at Park. Set in an atrium with a waterfall backdrop, Indulge at Park has spacious and comfortable seatings for its guests.

Watch That Fire! BBQ Dinner Buffet


In their weekend BBQ dinner buffet, guests can enjoy the freshest selection of meats and seafood infused with a snazzy array of BBQ rubs, spice blends, marinades and brines. The highlights include BBQ Pork Loin with Sweet Miso Rub and Sichuan Pepper Coat, BBQ Beef Rib Eye with Guinness Marinade, and BBQ Chicken with Tunisian Harissa Spice.

While I was busy at the BBQ section, V was more than impressed with the huge selection of fresh seafood including crabs, ocean prawns, fresh oysters in half shell, crayfish and sashimi.

This buffet dinner is available every Friday and Saturday from 6.30pm to 10.30pm. It’s priced at $58++ (Adult) and $29++ (Child).


The next day, we woke up to a beautiful Sunday and kicked start our morning with a hearty breakfast at Indulge at Park that serves a mix of continental and international spreads.

A staycation will never be complete without a pampering spa treatment (or at least for the ladies!). I went to experience the best of Asian full body massage at Spa Park Asia. After a 60-min session of aromatherapy body massage, I felt instantly refreshed and rejuvenated.

It’s a Carnivore Carnival! Sunday Buffet Lunch


Meat lovers will definitely enjoy this buffet lunch. Even if you’re not a meat lover, you will find the softly marbled cuts of tender meats and innovative meat creations too hard to resist.

There are more than 50 types of meat dishes to choose from, complete with fresh seafood on ice, various Asian and Western delights that are carefully crafted to whet your appetite. The must-try includes Whole Baby NZ Lamb Carcass marinated with fresh herbs and spices, Braised Australian Wagyu MS 8-9 Chuck Roll with Truffle Jus and Slow Roasted Baby Spanish Suckling Pig.

  • Executive Chef William - the grill expert

    Executive Chef William – the grill expert

  • Whole Baby NZ Lamb Carcass marinated with fresh herbs and spices

    Whole Baby NZ Lamb Carcass marinated with fresh herbs and spices

This buffet lunch is available every Sunday from 12 noon till 3pm. It’s priced at $50++ (Adult) and $25++ (Child).

In summary, Grand Park City Hall is ideal for families to take a short break without going too far. The Family Moments room package completes the whole staycation experience with affordable prices. Late check-out till 3pm, complimentary upgrade, impeccable service, wonderful spa therapy, and exceptional cuisine – I simply couldn’t ask for more.

Thanks Grand Park City Hall for the awesome staycation experience!

Booking App

For promotions and special offers, please click HERE. From now till 31 Jul 2014, visit staycate.sg and have a shake at the little hourglass. You’ll win prizes to complete your staycation at Park Hotel Group.

10 Coleman Street
Singapore 179809
Tel: (65) 6336 3456
Website: http://www.parkhotelgroup.com/cityhall/

Disclosure: This is an invited media stay. All opinions are honest and are my own.


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