Sophia just ended her second year in primary school. The first year was tentative, with us worrying about her ability to be independent, to make new friends, and to adapt to the very regimental life of a Chinese school. Eventually she did well, ending the year with an academic achievement award and making a few good friends.
Primary 2 was yet another year with triumphs and frustrations. The new MOE directives to do away with weighted assessments caused a lot of uncertainty and anxiety among parents. To me there is little difference since I did not even notice exams last year but, fortunately for Sophia, despite having hands off parents she did well enough. This year, from what I saw, the same assessments are still given in school just that the children are told “well done”, “good progress” etc rather than given a numerical score. At the end of the year, Sophia was given the learning role model award, which recognises the students who are role models for their peers, with right learning disposition, resilience, curiosity and enthusiasm observed by teachers. Really proud of her for keeping up with her academic achievements despite juggling 2 CCAs when most of her peers are still blissfully CCA-free.
On the CCA front, I finally stepped up a little to my mum duties, volunteering to help the dance team with several performances. They danced to an audience including Minister Ng Chee Meng at the tenth anniversary of 世界同窗, and at Farrer-Holland NC 20th anniversary to an audience including Senior Minister of State Sim Ann and MP Christopher de Souza. I didn’t realise that at that age they would actually be stressed about performing before important people, and I was glad to be there for Sophia and the other girls whose parents cannot be with them. Somehow I always get mistaken for other girls’ parents when I volunteer at school events, possibly a sign that I pay my own children too little attention and am much more patient with other children. One skill I gained from this experience is learning to draw eyeliners with a steady hand even for fearful girls who keep blinking. A backup career as makeup artist?
Sophia is also finally ready to compete for her gymnastics club next year. Her gym teacher is extremely strict by Singapore standards but I’m pleasantly surprised that Sophia’s love for the sport carried her through. She has never wanted to stop gymnastics even during term 1 when she was having a hard time adjusting to her heavy schedule of external club training, school team training, dance CCA, piano and academic pursuits, so much so that her piano teacher called me to say she is concerned Sophia looked so tired. Fortunately, the March holiday refreshed her and the rest of the year went relatively smoothly.
This year was also the year Sophia conquered her fear of failure. In the beginning of the year, Sophia was selected by her class teacher to represent the class for a blokus competition, which is a competitive game a little like Tetris, a little like Weiqi. She liked the game but declined the request to represent the class. Later in the year, there was a intra school maths odyssey competition on the card game 7ate9. This time the competition is voluntary and Sophia actually agreed to sign up on our encouragement. She is great at the math part, but terrible at the card handling part. As a result, she only progressed to the second round. The final result of this individual competition is not important though, the important learning point is that you should always try and do your best and after which it is ok to fail, pick yourself up and try again. I’m glad she demonstrated this spirit this year.
Next year is setting up to be a busy year with gym competition, piano exam and potentially SYF (although priority given to P4s so chances are slim) all in March. It is also the year where science will be introduced into the curriculum and exam re-introduced. My husband and I never set up to be tiger parents, although of course we are happy when our children do well. Ultimately, we hope to support our children in being the best they can.