Choosing a primary school – let your values lead the way

choosing the right primary school

[Updated on 22 Jun 2017]

We’re entering July soon, which is the time for primary school registration.

Fellow writers have been broaching the subject – from how to choose a school to recognizing that God is in control.

I’ve been wanting to share about how we settled on the school for Vera.

My husband’s alma mater no longer exists, and mine is on the other end of the island, so both options are out.

Over the past year, we shortlisted options A, B, and C. Our choices were based on distance and reputation, so they are all relatively near and relatively good. A is a pretty traditional school, very focused on academics and stressful overall, based on feedback from parents who send their kids there. (I must say that A was initially the leading choice for us, and my husband has been serving as a grassroots leader so that is equivalent to doing PV and should help us to secure a place there in phase 2B.)

B is the new kid of the block, with spanking new facilities and also a reputable principal who’d been moved over from one of the premium schools. It is also the nearest one to us.

C is a Christian girls’ school with a reputation for having a well-rounded focus, and that seems to strike a good balance between academic work and other interests such as the arts and sports.

After some prayer and consideration, we decided to go for C.

Our church affiliation would allow us to get into C via phase 2B. (For more information on phases and registration dates, go to MOE’s website.)

You might be wondering, then what will happen when it’s JJ’s or Joshie’s turn in a couple of years’ time? Well, we were keen on co-ed schools at first, but when we drilled down to the core, I realised that I did not want to allow our decision to hinge upon just the gender mix of our troop. So the short answer is we’ll cross the bridge when we get there. We may end up with Option B for the boys in future, or consider moving to another location that is nearer the Christian boys’ school that our church has affiliation with. (Currently, the latter option is out as it’s a tad too far away.)

While we shortlisted the schools based on distance and reputation (okay, I should add affiliation in the mix too), we made the final decision based on 2 key factors: my child’s temperament, and our family values.

On temperament:

Vera has a bit of an artist’s streak in her; she’s creative and dreamy, she loves to learn new things and ask questions about everything she observes, she likes to take her time to colour, draw, paint, come up with stories, and perform them. While all these does not necessarily mean she won’t be able to thrive in a more traditional academic-focused environment, I feel she’ll really thrive in a place that offers some space to dream and create, and to cultivate other interests such as art or dance or drama.

On values:

Why are values so important? Well, because every family is unique and has its own set of values, largely determined by the upbringing of both parents and their faith or belief system.

Some families value hard work and traditional academic performance.

Some families value creativity and could be more drawn towards a less structured education environment for their children.

Others value freedom (and perhaps a striking example of this would be families who choose to homeschool.)

Ours is a bit of a mix because my husband leans towards the traditional academic route while I much prefer options that offer more creativity, free time, and some breathing space for the child to explore her interests.

I have considered homeschooling, but that option is not the first one for us right now, as I’ve searched my heart and can honestly now say that my ideal life as a mum is to be able to do some writing or work from home, and to cultivate a space of my own.

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So that is how we arrived at our decision. I can’t say for sure that it’s the best choice, because only time will tell, but I am fairly sure that Vera will enjoy her learning and development there. And by God’s grace, we will navigate the primary school years smoothly with our first-born.

How did you decide on a primary school? What factors were important to you?

Other primary school-related articles:

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Comments

  1. says

    There were quite a bit of thinking through when it was my turn, and sometimes the thinking involved thoughts of why we even had to think so much about something as humdrum as pri sch (in some other countries perhaps, certainly not humdrum in Sgp)!

    Ultimately, we decided that we didn’t want to try balloting at all, so we narrowed down our options to those that were a shoo-in. Prayed about it. Decided on one that was ideal (or acceptable perhaps?) in terms of distance and ethos (love what you said about what the family wants), given the non-balloting constraint we self-applied.

    And by God’s grace, we really love the school so far, and think it’s very apt for K.
    lyn lee recently posted..The Lipstick Gospel – Stephanie May WilsonMy Profile

    • June says

      That’s wonderful Lyn, how it turned out. I guess we can never know for sure despite our best efforts to draw out the boundaries and scenarios, and sometimes just have to trust. I admire your stand on going for a non-balloting option too!

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