First day blues for kindergarten children

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KOTA KINABALU: Going back to school is always filled with excitement and anticipation. But for children who enter kindergarten for the first time, it can be a terrifying experience when insecurity kicks in as their parents are not by their sides.

Spotted at Chung Hwa Penampang Kindergarten yesterday was Yong Yung Shin who sat at a corner in a classroom, wiping tears off his face. Not even the toys in front of him could cheer him up.

Asked why he was crying, Yung Shin said, “I want mummy,” before breaking down again.

Also in the same class was four-year-old Dwen Chong who was accompanied by his father Chong Sui Foh.

As Dwen had missed the orientation class in December, Chong was a bit worried that his son might not be able to adapt to the new environment.

Chong’s elder sons, aged nine and 12, were also former students of the kindergarten.

“I’m bringing Dwen to class today because his mother has to be at school. She is the vice headmistress of SJK (C) Hwa Shiong.”

Meanwhile, Alexis Lee, four, who is entering her second year at Chung Hwa Penampang Kindergarten, seemed to be perfectly at ease with her surrounding. Not surprising as Alexis’ grandmother is a teacher at the kindergarten.

Ben Lee, her father, recalled Alexis’ first day of school.

“She was a bit nervous but there is an advantage when grandma is a teacher here.

“The first day was quite confusing because she addressed her grandma as teacher grandma,” he joked.

Asked if Alexis was excited about going back to school, she quietly nodded.

“Not because of the study but her friends,” Ben said.

He added that the only problem was to convince his daughter that her class was upstairs now and not downstairs.

Meanwhile, headmaster Lee Chee Len said the kindergarten prepared new students by having a week-long orientation class in December.

The school has a total of 18 classrooms to cater for the four-year study before the children enter primary school.

At SJK(C) Anglo Chinese, the situation seemed to be well under control.

Headmaster Shirley Ong said the new students had undergone transition class for a week before school reopened to allow them to adapt to the environment and make new friends.

The school also requested parents not to stand outside the classrooms, and to wait at the canteen instead.

“We don’t allow parents to stand outside (the classrooms) because the children will not be able to concentrate in class, particularly those who are more dependent on their parents.”

This year, the school welcomes 180 new students and around 30 per cent of the students are Bumiputra.

Mock Chuan Yin was happy to see that her son, Felix Wesley Chia, six, is adapting well in class.

“He is an active kid, not afraid of people, and very talkative. He can make friends with other children.”

Felix was initially allocated to SJK(C) Shan Tao by the Education Department but his parents were determined to put him in a Chinese vernacular school.

“We want him to study in a Chinese school because it is harder.”

A check at Tabika Kemas Pangsapuri Tanjung Aru showed most of the pupils were enjoying their first day at school.

Five-year-old Nurul Anwah Shairal enjoyed playing with toys and friends.

Another little girl, Nurul Ashikin Natasha Gilbert, just kept quiet when she was asked whether she cried or not inside the class.

According to her mother, Ashikin was upset when she walked away and left her inside the class with other children.