P1 Registration – the rite of passage every parent in Singapore has to go through. The process itself is not for the faint-hearted, especially for those parents who have to register after Phase 2A. I’ve been monitoring the vacancies on the MOE website since the exercise started and it’s not doing any good to my blood pressure to say the least.
It was about 4 years ago when I started getting more exposure to the intricacies and sometimes painful processes of getting their children into a school of their choice during catchups with friends. But because I didn’t want to be labeled as ‘kiasu’, I didn’t bother to find out how this whole system works. On hindsight, I realised I was being silly. It’s a fine line between being kiasu and being well-prepared. About 2 years before my turn to register, I finally pulled my socks up – chewed the information on MOE’s site and even went to join the kiasuparents forum.
To play this safe, I wanted to be able to register the cub at Phase 2B.
Thought of trying for option (c) as that would give us more options in terms of school choices. To gain more clarity, I went to different community centres to enquire with their staff about the requisites and definition of active community leader and learned that we are not likely to fulfil the requisite of 2 years of grassroots service. Totally dropped this option when I realised that some of my shortlisted school(s) do not fall under the constituency where we belong even though we are within the 0-2km radius because of how the “lines” of constituencies are drawn.
We are not connected to any clan or church, hence option (b) is not available for us.
That leaves us with option (a) under Phase 2B. Some of the shortlisted schools I enquired with do not take parent volunteers (PVs) anymore, so the list was further narrowed down to the few that accept parent volunteers.
Tip to share: do enquire early with schools when they open registration for parent volunteers as different schools have different cut-off dates for PV registration.
Next is the million dollar question – which school to try for? I have my own criteria:
We are hoping that we don’t have to spend unnecessary traveling time which can be better spent clocking in more sleep for the kids and us!
Also, we are safer with the school that is within the 0-2km radius of our place should we have to ballot. (Crossing fingers we don’t have to!!)
School with Religion
A school with religious background is preferred to fulfil their spiritual needs during their primary school journey.
The cub is coping pretty well with Chinese language so far after years of learning at Berries. Hence, I hope to find a school with a good focus on his Mother Tongue so that we would not waste his efforts on building up the foundation in Chinese language.
Boys School vs Co-ed School
I was leaning towards a boys’ school because I wanted to send the lil’ dragonlady to my girls’ school when it’s her turn. It would be so cute to have her wearing the same uniform I did!
But the husband preferred that the both of them go to the same school so that I don’t kill myself with the logistics. Realistically speaking, he’s right especially since they are so close in age.
After considering all these factors, only one school stood out in my comparison chart. Let’s call this School A. Still, I wasn’t sure if it was the right decision. I felt a compelling need to pray about my decision, and I did. I prayed hard for God to give me clear signs.
And I think He did. I had a not-so-pleasant experience via email with the Vice Principal (VP) of School B soon after. Then some other negative news of School B surfaced around that time as well.
School C’s VPs were a little strange – during the interview to be a PV at their school, they kept going on about how they do not have school bus service for my location, which was the least of my concerns!
With School A, I really enjoyed talking to the VP during the interview and had great vibes of the school when I visited. The weeks that followed, I had a few people from different parts of my life sharing about random information about School A which were all positive.
After sharing these with the husband, we decided on School A. It felt right after I made the decision. That’s how I ended up as a parent volunteer for School A to get into Phase 2B for registration.
For the past year, I had to wake up at 615am (WAYYYYY earlier than the time I have to wake up for work!) for traffic duty every Friday of the school terms. Whenever my (crazy) schedule allows, I request to help out at school events. It was getting a little stressful when I realised in March I still had some hours to hit before I could achieve 40 hours by 30 June. There’s usually not much to help out with after the exams in May, so I needed to get all my hours in by April to be safe. Thankfully we managed to in the end, with the husband pitching in to help in between his work commitments.
All our effort and time for the past year so that we can get our firstborn into School A through Phase 2B this week. Wish us luck!