AS SCHOOLS prepare to re-open their gates for the next term tomorrow, many parents have apprehension on psyching their children to get up and prepare for school.
The challenge does not only come from toddlers and pre-schoolers but also older children, according to a press release from the Ministry of Education.
The situation looks particularly tough for Year 6 pupils as well as their parents and teachers since the start of the term tomorrow marks yet another day closer to the upcoming PSR exams.
For pupils who attended extra classes for PSR at their schools during the term holiday, their momentum is somewhat maintained and teachers and parents continue to provide them with learning support and guidance in preparing for the approaching exam.
For Noorul, a Year 6 pupil, her week-long term holiday was organised by her parents.
After her PSR extra classes at school in the morning, her family made time for quality evenings together eating out or catching a movie.
Her mother, Hajah, believes that having a child facing a major exam means that some small sacrifices must be made for the family.
“My husband and I decided that we will not splurge into long holidays until the end of the year and trim house work to the basics for our children facing big exams. We would like to show our children that their learning is important to us too.
“Noorul will be sitting for PSR and her older sister will be facing the GCE ‘O’ levels. We have five children and because of the sacrifices that we made this year, the rest of our children also will take their education seriously.”
In making preparations for the re-start of school tomorrow, Hajah said that it is important for her as a mother to make sure everyone in the family move in an orderly manner.
“School uniforms, socks, shoes and backpacks need to be ready at least a day before the school re-opens.
“For Noorul, we have made a countdown to the PSR exams to help with her preparations. This method has so far helped her other three older brothers and sister to mentally prepare for their exams.”
The countdown is pasted on their kitchen wall and in Noorul’s room to remind her to keep her revision on track.
Hajah shared that this countdown will be updated until the day before PSR.
A number of learning coaches vouch for countdowns as practiced by Hajah in preparing children for major exams.
This helps children build momentum and maintain focus on their goal, in this case, doing well in their PSR.
For Year 6 children who were not able to attend extra classes, parents can always help to remind them to allocate time for revision and discussion sessions on their studies.
Helping them make preparations and doing a checklist of what to prepare not only helps enhance parent-child bonding but also support children’s ability to organise their work as well as focus on what they have to do at school.
Such communication can not only occur between parents and their children but also be supported by their extended family like grandparents.
Conversations asking about their learning and perhaps issues that children may be facing at school can help pupils address any discomfort and therefore help their mental preparation to learn and prepare for school as well as exams.
For Haji Abdul Rahman of Perpindahan Lambak Kanan, the start of school for the fourth term tomorrow marks yet another day closer for three of his grandchildren facing PSR.
“One of my grandchildren goes to Sekolah Rendah Lambak Kanan, Jalan 49. During the school holiday, he attended extra classes at the school.
“When he and my other two grandchildren come to my house, I like asking them about their preparation for PSR. It keeps them on their toes as I’m a retired primary teacher too.”
Haji Abdul Rahman commended efforts made by schools to conduct the extra classes.
In prepping Year 6 children for school tomorrow, he believes that reminding children to prepare their school material and how time is getting closer to the exam helps in keeping the ‘PSR gears’ on the move.
“Young children need our guidance so we need to keep talking to them, reminding them and giving them useful advice and tips.
“At the same time, we must make conscious effort that we do not nag children. They are of a different generation and nagging or harsh reminders are not good approaches to instil positive habits,” Haji Abdul Rahman said.
With the support and involvement of the family, school-going children may find it easier to shift their gear into school mode as the term begins tomorrow.
For Year 6 pupils in particular, such support will prove fundamental in keeping their focus towards PSR and beefing up their confidence.
The final 10 school days before PSR will prove critical to ensure that preparations made up to this point continue to strengthen children’s learning and help them perform in the upcoming PSR to the best of their ability.