During this time of the year, parents are busy getting their kindergartners ready for primary school, as the registration for P1 has already begun in phases.
In Singapore, all citizens have the privilege of a compulsory six-year primary school education. Here’s a look at the overview of Singapore’s education system:
Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) promises that “every school [is] a good school”, as they ensure schools are equipped with a strong curriculum, and enriched with customized programmes to nurture each child holistically, so that they grow not only in knowledge, but also with character and critical competencies. Below is a quick summary of the primary school curriculum:
For your preschooler, this transition is going to be foreign, different, but exciting at the same time.
How can you support your child(ren)’s transition into primary school?
- If your child is not already playing an instrument, why not start introducing one? Music can be a form of enrichment for your child.
Science and research has proven many times that when children learn to play music, and are actively participating in music class, they develop “neurophysiological distinction” (their brains begin to hear and process sounds which they could not otherwise hear), and this skill can aid in literacy, and in turn, improve academic results.
When you start your child’s musical journey now, as they progress, in future, they can enrol into the School of the Arts (SOTA) or their secondary schools’ Music Elective Programme (MEP), and learn with like-minded peers in a musically enriched and vibrant environment.
Still unconvinced of the benefits of music as enrichment? I catch up with Jade, a student of Bloom School of Music & Arts, whom I chatted with in 2016 (interview has been edited for clarity and continuity):
Hi Jade! Please tell us, what’s new with you these days?
I’m 15 this year, at Year 3 of MEP in CHIJ. Nowadays there is Home-Based-Learning; every teacher is giving a lot of work. It is a bit stressful, but I still can cope!
I still like dancing and singing. It has never changed 🙂
When we last spoke, you were playing the piano and the drums. Are you still playing any instruments? What other instruments have you picked up?
I’m still playing the piano. I’m currently at Grade 5 Theory, and Grade 6 Practical. I used to learn the guitar, but have now stopped.
How has music enrichment helped you in life?
Music enrichment has helped me in school. I am in the school choir, I am able to help my fellow schoolmates in areas they don’t know, as I have music background.
Last time, you mentioned that (music) practice is very important. What can we learn from practising our skills?
When practising, you are able to become better than you are right now. Practising your mistakes over and over again will help you get better.
How do you keep your passion for music alive?
I listen to the songs that I love, and alos watch music variety shows, or shows that include music. Finding new music you love is also able to keep your passion for music alive.
This is Jade’s MEP piece. Enjoy!
“Find the kind of music they love, good teachers, an instrument they’ll like. Making music should be something that children enjoy and will want to keep doing for many years!”
– Nina Kraus, director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, and co-author of a study with Jane Hornickel, Dana L. Strait, Jessica Slater and Elaine Thompson of Northwestern University
Miracles do not happen overnight, so go easy on your children, as you do not want to end up giving them extra stress on top of the impending transition. Afterall, enrichment, whether in music, arts or in other forms, makes something more meaningful, more rewarding, more valuable. So remember what is already valuable to you!
- Teach your child life skills, and familiarize him/her to the new routine
- Get tips from a primary school teacher herself!
It will help for your child(ren) to be proficient in reading and writing before entering primary school, as this skill can help him/her cope with other challenges—for example, other subjects.
Develop an awareness of the other skills your child has attained which chart his holistic growth; motor skills development, creative expression and appreciation of arts and music, problem-solving skills, imagination, and basic Math concepts.
As parents, be pillars of support and encouragement, and role-models of social situations, to help your child foster positive habits such as listening, turn-taking, and kindness, to name a few.
I hope this article has been helpful for you, by giving you clues of what to expect for this transition to Primary school. Should you discover that your child(ren) have interest in music, as much as possible, Bloom School of Music & Arts would like to be a part of your child’s musical journey. We offer various individual and group instrumental programmes. Students of Bloom will get a confidence boost when they participate in the annual event to showcase their musical talents.
So come on down now to make an enquiry!