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Preparing for primary school in Singapore: Aspects of adjustment to the more formal demands of the primary one mathematics syllabus
Sharpe, P. (2000). Preparing for primary school in Singapore: Aspects of adjustment to the more formal demands of the primary one mathematics syllabus. In J. Ee, Berinderjeet Kaur, N. H. Lee and B. H. Yeap (Eds.), New ‘Literacies’: Educational response to a knowledge-based society: Proceedings of the ERA-AME-AMIC Joint Conference 2000 (pp. 657-665). Singapore: Educational Research Association.
This paper reports some findings from an NIE research project: A study of children in transition from pre to primary school: cognitive, language, and socio-emotional adjustments. The longitudinal study focuses on children’s transition to primary one. It is noted that although attempts are made by selected pre-schools to ease the entry to primary school by preparing children and their parents to bridge the gap, many find the differences they encounter daunting. Expectations of primary schools are high, and parents are anxious about preparation. Furthermore, many studies have highlighted the strong support networks which Asian parents provide for their children and the implications for later learning in school, especially in mathematics.
This paper will identify the nature of this support for numeracy development as far as a group of parents in Singapore is concerned. It will be evident that Singaporean parents invest much time and effort in preparing children for primary school. They see this as essential for accessing entry to a meritocratic education system geared towards raising global economic competitiveness through an ability-driven curriculum. They are resourceful and competitive in securing a sure start in pre-school, where parental involvement is not always encouraged (Sharpe 1991). Hence, Singaporean parents’ numeracy support strategies are compared with those reported by parents in the USA but with a different kind of agenda for their children, resulting in an “east meets west parental involvement model” for early numeracy development.
This paper was published in the Proceedings of the ERA-AME-AMIC Joint Conference held at Singapore from 4-6 September 2000
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