It’s been a few weeks since school started and boy did we need a real jump start for it. We now have kids in K1, P1 and P3, and although it wasn’t our first time in P1, I was quite concerned about our P1 son because he is more reserved and often apprehensive about new environments. It helps that he will have a big brother – literally, he could squash any potential bullies easily, but as we all know, there is a great transition between kindergarten and primary school.
I have heard so much about The Little Executive from Mamawearpapashirt, so when Michelle from TLE approached me to join a holiday workshop last December for the P1 Prep Camp, I was definitely excited! I was not sure what to expect from the class, but felt any prep class would be welcome. He was apprehensive about joining the 4-day programme at The Little Executive, and complained the first 2 days about having to go. It was as expected, and sure some of it was probably due to post-lunch sleepiness, but thankfully he enjoyed it enough not to complain about the following 2 days. Phew!
This P1 Prep Camp is not about getting a crash course in P1 subjects such as HYPY (since there are many of those). This programme is a mix of essential skills, such as reading a timetable to understand scheduling, what to pack or prepare for the day ahead. Or copying things down from the board. The teachers also approached handling money and making decisions by offering tough choices such as 2 chocolate chip cookies or one Nutella bread? Read more about the camp programme here. Their next P1 Prep Camp will run in June and December later this year!
The camp was over a period of 4 afternoons, which might be a tad long for some kids, but I felt the duration was just right for the teachers and students to get to know each other and work together. From the programme, they also had some interesting feedback and insights from the teachers. As some of you might know, children can be quite different with parents and in school, so it often helps to have another point of view to help understand your child more.
I really like the TLE (The Little Executive) Approach that is – Executive Skills, Learning Habits, and a Growth Mindset. The “executive” refers to “executive skills or function”, and not like training kids to be CEOs, which is what I initially thought it was.
I also liked that TLE quoted from one of my favourite books (click to see a post I wrote on it previously) – Dr. John Medina’s Brain Rules for Baby, “The single greatest predictor of academic success is executive function“. He is also the man who famously said that the way to get your kid to Harvard was to create a loving environment at home, something I always try to keep in the back of my mind in order not to be led too much into kiasu parenting!
These days, the world is so different from when we were young. Now, every other joker has a degree, and you can almost Google anything. Knowledge isn’t power or the key differentiating factor between one worker and another anymore. Of course knowledge of the basics is important, so kids still need to go to school to learn their ABCs and 123s. So other skills are increasingly more important than regurgitation.
Overall the course taught my son some practical skills, and for me, it was insightful and comforting to know that he was on the right track and which areas I could help him with. I would highly recommend the programme to anyone!
Family counselor Adrian Lim, in an interview on Channel News Asia’s Singapore Tonight, suggested that to ease the anxiety that arises from the transition into P1, parents can teach and practise some essential skills. These include the routine of waking up early, packing school bags, paying for their own food etc. It also helps if they get familiar with the school environment, so going for the school orientation, touring the school and buying something to eat at the canteen are all good ways to minimize anxiety. I’m not saying we need to be kan cheong spider and get overly anxious ourselves about children entering primary 1, but it is different from kindergarten, and it is good to know your child and prepare them for what’s ahead by teaching them certain skills rather than pre-teaching the whole year’s syllabus.
So if you’re not sure how to go about teaching some of the essential skills, you could also sign up for the P1 Prep Camp at The Little Executive. This coming March school holidays TLE are also running two other just as interesting camps, as below. The P1 Prep Camp will run again in June and December so do watch out for it!
The Little Executive
144 Bukit Timah Road
Disclaimer: TLE invited us to participate in this holiday camp at no cost to us, and we learned a lot from the experience! All opinions are 100% my own.