This month we sorted out Watermelon’s transition to N1 for next year by confirming our interest to continue with the centre and attending the orientation session. At her centre, N1 onwards come under a different management and group of teachers, so it feels new-ish to us even though her uniform will be the same.
Here’s the thing — I’m having a lot of reservations about her going to N1 at her centre. Partly because I’ve developed a somewhat negative perception of the school from the (admittedly, few) times I walk past the classrooms at the void deck and happen to hear the teachers scolding the children. In those moments I feel so kesian for the kids. I know lah, it’s not easy handling a group of 3,4,5,6 year olds with some kids testing boundaries more than others, but I can’t help myself feeling this way. I also know there are many times where I’ve walked past and the classrooms sound good and peaceful, but my brain keeps replaying the bad scenes.
The other reason for my reservations is that I don’t agree with the centre’s philosophy that at 3 years old, kids are somewhat ready to start formal education. Noooooo. InsyaAllah kids have 6 + 4 years to sit obediently in classrooms so I’m not in a rush to subject my tiny 3 year old to a more rigid environment.
In all honesty I really wish we could afford those play-based preschools but those are out of our budget for now. The alternative is to let her stay at home with me, but I might go crazy because I’m not sure I’m ready to put in that kind of labour + a whole lot of love, ha ha. Plus with a newborn on the way!
But we’ll see. If push comes to shove, I might have to clean up my act so we can re-organise our family life and start sending her to a half-day kindergarten programme instead. By cleaning up my act I mean being super disciplined about my work habits and establishing stronger business relationships so that I’ll still have an income stream to better support our aspirations. And my never ending shopping urges. Heh.
Just last week we put ourselves on the wait list for another childcare centre in the neighbourhood; one that I’ve heard rave reviews about from a babywearing mama and a school senior who sends his kids there. Not too optimistic about the spot opening up so soon coz it’s likely very popular.
One thing that surprised me though is that this other centre doesn’t name N1 “N1” but “playgroup”. Omg see??!! That’s more like it, at least in my universe. Downside is that the centre is further away from our place. I suppose the longer commute is a small price to pay for being more comfortable with the centre’s style.
Anyway, the start of next year will be hectic with Chickpea’s arrival and learning to become a new family of 4. For now we’ll let Watermelon attend N1 in the same school with her friends from her current toddler group. Especially her best friend YK whom she grew up with in infantcare. I’ll feel sad if/when they won’t get to see each other every day anymore. But hopefully things will turn out a lot better than expected. Transitions have always been the toughest in parenting. Rapid changes plus the fear of the unknown — scary and not fun. Maybe one day I’ll look back and laugh at how worried I was.
For what it’s worth, the principal and teachers we met were nice and enthusiastic. And they mean really well. It’s just about finding the right culture that fits with our own parenting philosophy.
Praying for the best! This is so hard.