S’pore Teacher Says Kids Should Master Skills Like Self-Control & Focus Before Entering P1

Teacher Of 30 Years Says Soft Skills More Essential Than Books For P1 Students

Recently, parents in Singapore have been busy applying for schools for their kids who are entering Primary 1 (P1). As the young ones prepare to enter academia, parents may think book smarts are important.

However, an experienced teacher is saying that soft skills are just as, if not more, essential.

From time management to social interaction, Mrs Marjorie Seek shares with School Bag, the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) news site, about six skills children should pick up before starting their public school journey.

Soft skills important for children entering P1

The post from 2021 gained traction again recently when MOE shared it on their Facebook page on Friday (26 Aug).

In the post, MOE gleans some knowledge from Mrs Seek, a teacher at CHIJ Katong Primary who has had nearly 30 years of experience.

According to her, while books are important, children should master at least six soft skills to build “a firmer foundation for learning and thriving in their school years and beyond”.

The first is time management, which they should learn at a young age. Parents can help by setting time limits for tasks, such as giving children screen time only after they’ve finished their meal at a certain hour.

Source: @kellysikkema on Unsplash

Should they take longer, they’ll have less time for the activity they enjoy — this teaches them about consequences, while instilling discipline, notes Mrs Seek.

Kids should develop self-control & learn to focus

Most of us who’ve been through school would remember “behave” as a common command teachers like to use.

Evidently, they wouldn’t have to say it as much if students had better self-control, such as knowing when to stop talking and refraining from reacting based on their emotions.

Learning to master this skill could “lead to a happier learning environment for everyone”. At home, parents can help inculcate the skill by informing their kids of the consequences of misbehaviour and following through with them.

Once they’ve learned to keep their emotions in check, children can better focus in the classroom, paying attention to instructions and following them.

That way, they won’t miss out on things like homework and resort to chionging their tasks at the eleventh hour.

Learn to adapt & work with others

One reason why learning shouldn’t be just by the book is that life can throw us curveballs, which makes the ability to think on your feet a valuable asset.

Mrs Seek acknowledges that it’s a difficult competency for children to develop but will help greatly with their problem-solving and social skills.

A convenient way to impart this to them is by teaching kids to go with the flow whenever a routine gets interrupted, explaining to them how it’s okay to adjust and adapt where necessary.

Being adaptable then comes in handy when they have to interact with peers, who will have different personality traits and ways of thinking.

Source: Ministry of Education, Singapore on Facebook

All that they’d have to learn to show towards others are empathy and respect, and hopefully, they’ll be able to form lasting friendships.

Encouragement from adults essential

Since getting through years of education can be difficult, the last but key skill children must have is perseverance.

Setting their sights on a tangible goal and committing themselves to achieve it will see them through the challenges along the way.

And instead of focusing on the mistakes, parents and teachers should learn to praise children’s commitment and encourage them to persevere.

But don’t be too quick to intervene when they struggle. Let them figure things out themselves so the achievement will be sweeter.

Help your kids learn useful skills before starting P1

Preparing kiddos for school can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially for first-time parents.

Thankfully, there are plenty of useful guides out there, so don’t hesitate to read up or ask around for tips.

Hopefully, your children will have a smooth transition and create wonderful memories in their schooling years.

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Featured image adapted from Chan Chun Sing on Facebook.

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