Starting Primary One: Parent Involvement


How times have changed, I thought as I was reading the e-mail from my son’s teacher. During my time, teachers will only communicate with the parents when their kids ran into problems at school – that’s mainly disciplinary problems.

Now, teachers encourage and expect parents to work in tandem with them in their children’s education. Good or bad, it depends on how you view it. In my opinion, most parents today take their roles as education partners very seriously too.

Parent-teacher meetings started as early as in kindergarten, complete with detailed progress reports and ratings. Initially, I was enthusiastic about meeting the teachers to discuss about my son’s progress. But in the later years, I dreaded attending such meetings because they are a source of stress to me.


The teachers gave all kinds of negative criticisms when Edison couldn’t march up to their standards. Indirectly, they also made me feel inadequate as his mom, and I felt so sorry for my boy too.

It takes a village to raise a child. It’s an old saying, but the spirit of the statement is true regardless of the era. Parents are always eager for constructive feedback and suggestions, and they don’t want to be turned away with negative criticisms. But some teachers think they can only do ‘so much’, and so they highlighted the problems for the parents to correct them.

The rest is history, I don’t want to discuss about it anymore. Now that Edison is in Primary One, I hope that the parent-teacher meetings can be conducted in a more constructive manner.

It has been two weeks since our boy started his Primary One journey, and I’ve been receiving e-mails from his teachers every end of the week. His Form Teacher will send e-mails to inform us on common issues like what to bring to school, what to purchase, what to wear, what to take note, etc. I’m also getting e-mails from other teachers with updates on the learning process and progress in class.

Truth be told, I’m really impressed with the school, teachers and Parent Volunteers (PV) on how they manage the Primary One children on the first two weeks of school. Parents were not allowed to go into the school since the very first day. The team, together with some P5 befrienders, never fail to provide assistance to the new boys.

Prior enrolling Edison to this primary school, I’ve heard that parents in this school have a reputation for being “too free” with too much time on their hands. They spend hours waiting for their boys to dismiss from school, they volunteer for all kinds of activities, and they don’t seem to work.

True or not, I’ve yet to figure out. Last month (before the school started), they called to check if I’m interested to become a Parent Volunteer. I hesitated because I’m working full-time, so I rejected them.

However, during these 2.5 weeks, I’ve witnessed how “beautiful” this parent support group is. They work together to create a caring and supportive environment in school for the boys. Their presence makes a difference especially to the younger boys who have just started Primary One.

So, I’ve decided to join them as a Parent Volunteer. Since I have an hour to spare in the morning (after sending the boy to school and before starting work), I volunteered and I hope to make a difference to the lives of others when I’m still able to do so.

Being a PV has given me a better insight into the school’s culture, policies and routines, which some parents may not be as familiar with. It has also given me the opportunity to interact with the school leaders, teachers, staffs and parents. I’m glad to make so many new friends in this school.

This week, I’ll be attending the first parent-teacher briefing. The meeting is not to discuss about the children’s progress, but more on the interaction among parents in the class, facilitated by the Form Teacher. The school will also give a general update and subject briefing to the parents.

This is certainly something new and exciting to me – when it comes to meeting so many parents for the first time. I told myself that I shouldn’t shy away from this opportunity, but open up to stay connected with these parents. After all, it’s useful to share information and provide support for each other as and when we need it.

Are you a Parent Volunteer too? Are you also constantly staying in touch with other parents via social media groups? I love to hear from you too!


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


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Rachel January 21, 2014 at 2:55 PM

I think being a PV is useful to understand more about the culture and systems of the school that Edison is enrolled in. Hehe…I am a PV too, but an ad hoc PV only, for projects.

Emily January 21, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Hi Rachel,
Last year, I enrolled as an ad-hoc PV. But since I have time in the morning, I’ve volunteered for once a week hall-duty. It’s really fun. Prior my duty, I didn’t know that all the boys need to assemble in hall for silent reading every morning. My duty is until 7:25am when the school bell rings. Thereafter, I can still slowly make my way to my office.

I’m thinking to volunteer one more day for their reading program or library duty too. Will see how it goes next month. It’s fun actually, getting to know the other parents.


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