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Dec 27, 2010

3D Blog - First Day of School

Children attending school at Covent Garden in 1956

The "First Day of School" blog topic sounds interesting and I attempt to experiment "The Third Dimension" (3D) presentation style with a new "blog recipe".

"First Day of School" focus on kindergarten and first admission to Primary One in Singapore schools.

Although Compulsory Education (CE) was implemented in Singapore in 2003, every parents are concerned to send their children to school.

On this blog as a photographic journal, the relevant photos shared here in sequence but not necessarily in chronological order.

How do the grandparents, parents and their children experience their first day in school?

"The Third Dimension" (3D) of schoolday experience then and now.

There is also a section on school registration "then and now" as the system to attend school evolve since the early days. Not an academic research blog on education in Singapore though.

The following blogs are selected from Mr Brown and The Long and Winding Road blogs to share their experience on first day of school. Fellow bloggers are welcome to link them here on the relevant topics.

This is the new media blogs on "The Third Dimension" (3D) using different media channels of the same genre, including Facebook the social utility network.

The blog presentation with each his own style doesn't matter. Variety is the spice of life expresses the idea that it is good to try and do different things. Just as a cook uses different spices to create the flavors in a great meal, a person who tries different experiences will be able to enjoy different tastes and ways.

The blog content and resource material remains unchanged. Its kinda like "mooncake recipe". There is no moon in the cake of a "mooncake"! Just as there is no wife in the cake of "Lao Po Bing" (Wife Cake) :)

The traditional mooncake is consumed during the Mid-Autumn Festival. However, the mooncake recipe and ingredient have changed over the years. These days, mooncakes are sold in a variety of flavor, color and shapes, including mini mooncakes sizes...durian flavor, chocolate flavor, "taro sweet potato" and all sorts of filling found here .

How did the children get through the day on the first day of school?

Fancy going to school by rickshaws as the children at Tao Nan School travel in 1909 by "The First Dimension" transportation method. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

"The Second Dimension" for transportation by public buses as shown in the photos below.

"The Third Dimension" (3D) transportation when school re-opens on 4 January, 2011. Commuting becomes a breeze when the children and their parents accompany them to school by MRT mode of transportation. Fast, efficient and comfortable. That's what it is like to travel on the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) and LRT (Light Rapid Transit) systems. It's the backbone of the city's public transport system, taking you to the north, south, east, west and north-eastern parts of Singapore.

On the first day to school accompanied by parents. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Mother holding the child's hand tightly to send him to first day in school. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Under the watchful eyes of the woman police constable to ensure the safety of the school children of the Holy Convent Jesus in 1970. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

A woman police constable on road safety duty. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

The daily rush to school by bus using public transportation of "The Second Dimension".Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

School children were travelling on the bus step at their own's risk. However, the bus captains will now only start the buses moving before the doors are closed. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Travel to school with happiness by bus in a NTUC Comfort mini-bus...safe and comfortable. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

School children morning exercise was a daily routine in the 1960s. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Recess time on the first day of school with the guidance of the parents. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Grandma to bring food to school during recess time. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

 New primary one pupils escorted by parents on their first day at River Valley Primary School c 1969

Attending first day of school with excitement and joy to study and learn. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

School Dismissal - "Before". Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

School Dismissal - "After" with queue and guides to practise "Safety First" (Above and Below) Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

On the first day of school in 1955, I attended the Kai Kok Public School at Bukit Ho Swee where I grew up. First day of school, my mother walked with me on the muddy tracks to the wooden school building. She accompanied me throughout that day, waiting in the school canteen and brought home-cooked food for me during recess time. There was no foreign domestic worker (known as FDW) to look after me. How times changed!

Today, there are over 74 kindergartens and 177 primary schools in Singapore. More school building are under construction to cater to the education needs of Singaporeans. Who built the schools over the 45 years of nationhood? Looking back, it was a development to rapidly build and move from "The First Dimension" to the "The Third Dimension"...our experience on an educational journey to progress as a people.

Where were the school buildings to be located, the principals and the teachers to train? The kampungs and rural areas was given priority as there were fewer neighbourhood schools there in the 1960s.

The school building infrastructure and facilities are the hardware; the training courses, the educationists and the students themselves are the heartware to make the schools work and to benefit the society.

Before the child could go to the "First Day of School", how was it possible to have a school to attend, the enrolment of the children under a school registration system as we could see from the photos below.

Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

The school registration system has evolved over the decades. This photo shows an improvement in the 1980s. Photo Credit: National Archives of Singapore (NAS).

Now, the school registration system has since been computerised.

Every parents aspire for their children to have a better life through formal school education, literacy and skill training...since the times of the philanthropist Mr Lee Kong Chian and other educational pioneers to help build Singapore.

My bus-driver friend used to tell me: "Never mind that I was born illiterate, but my two children born in Singapore in the 1980s are National University of Singapore graduates and one of them are pursuing PhD." He beamed with pride for his children to grow up in a city of possibilities based on meritocracy and opportunities to upgrade their social status regardless of ethnic group, language or religion. Like the Samsui women, my friend found the sacrifices and hardship during his early days for the sake of the future generations worthwhile.

Happy schooling to every children on their first day in school. Study hard and don't play too much on their computer games!

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7 Comments:

Blogger Ivan Chew said...

This post shows that some things don't change. Not that it's a bad thing. For one, the emphasis placed on education by the parents are a good thing. Wonder if there are the same Kiasu parents back then, as now. Or maybe there always has been but there's more today :)

December 27, 2010 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger PChew said...

The picture showing a queque by parents to register their children for prminary one, reminded me that I stayed overnight to register for my eldest son at St Stephen's School in 1969

December 28, 2010 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

True, some things don't change.

The "kiasuism" culture since the early days of my parents in Singapore.

Besides education, business. sports and every fields of competition where people excel to do their best in every endeavour.

Isn't parents today in China looking everywhere for the best education methods and systems for their children to be winners are the same Kiasu parents. They are not labelled as "kiasu" though.

December 28, 2010 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks PChew.

My mother should be one of those in the queue shown in the picture.

It reminds me that I did the same to register my first daughter to queue at the neighborhood school in the 1990s.

The registration for my second son under school registration preference system for siblings in the same school.

December 28, 2010 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Andy Young* said...

James,
Lots of pictures. Again bringing back memories.

Keep it going.

December 31, 2010 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger sim hui hwang said...

Dear James
I meant to read this post but school caught up with me, then I fell ill and then I forgot. I am so happy to learn that MOE has taken up your story and started its own quest to find out from Singaporeans what the first day of school is like for all who have gone to school.

I guess school is the last to do away with queues. We teach children to queue for everything from buying uniform, to books, to food and then on Parents' Day. We never seem to dispense with queues.

What I like most about your post, is your description of Singapore as a city of possibilities. I must add that possibilities must be actively searched. Many of us are trained to follow the queue. We seldom get to explore other possibilities.

People continue to walk into a bank to exchange for new currency notes prior to the Chinese New Year. People queue overnight for a piece of electrical appliance that goes for a dollar.

People queue to buy a condo unit. With the easy availability of the internet, strangely, people still feel safer to present themselves in person when they go to the bank.

Many of us aim to study at the university after our A levels. How often do we dare to explore the possibilities of working first, in order to gain experience? Dare we be different from the norm? In a small country, possibilities can be rather predictable.

My first day in school was one of utter confusion and guilt. I seemed to know the route home so much. I ran home after school or was it my father who held my hand and walked me home. I remember skipping and hopping along the way.

My pinafore was fresh, crisp and stiff. A lot of starch must have gone into the cotton pinafore to make it stand like a tent. Then when my father and I reached home, my mother asked the both of us: 'Where is your blackboard?' I couldn't understand her query. Then when I raised my hand to show her, I got the shock of my life. All I had on my left hand was a string that acted as a handle for the small blackboard.

I couldn't believe that the blackboard was gone! How could I have lost my blackboard along the way, with my father walking me home? It then dawned on me that the knot to the string must have come loose and why didn't I hear the thud of a falling blackboard? You asked me. I was so sad as I was eager to start writing on my blackboard when I reached home. I am glad I have the opportunity to share my story here. As an MOE employee, I am not allowed to participate in the share your first day in school experience contest to win an Apple ipod Nano.

So that was my first day in school. Until today, I am still a very careless person who crashes into things, people and school bags left on the narrow aisles of a typical classroom in Singapore. Did I tell you that I fell while taking pictures at the YOG when my student was in the ring boxing with an Azerbaijan youth boxer? From queues to blackboard... Yes, you can safely say that the only significant change is to make the blackboard redundant in school. Ironically, that was the best way to train us in good handwriting. You might want to compare it to a tablet used in schools nowadays, with the advent of the digital age.

February 26, 2011 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Dear Hui Hwang,

Thank you for posting an excellent blog comments on the "3D - First Day of School" blog topic and sharing your personal schoolday experience.

It is wonderful to know that Ministry of Education has directed and produced a "third dinension" video of the "First Week of P1" initiated as a "I remember" contest to step into the school or classroom for the very first time, documenting distinct memories of every Prmary 1 students in Singapore.

Juxtaposing the virtual black-aand-white still photos of the "first dimension" posted on my blog from PICAS is a surreal indeed.

The readers on the blog and I have enjoyed your interesting and eloquent articles very much indeed.

Please write more and regularly to share your personal experience which we have much to learn from you. Much appreciated.

Best Regards.

March 4, 2011 at 11:25 PM  

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