Congratulations!! Your little one have finally graduated from Kindergarten and is now ready to explore the next step of their lives which is Primary SCHOOOOL!! Exciting times ahead ehh.. But wait.. What do they need? Am I over purchasing? Is this item really needed? Fret not!! I have compiled a list of must have items for your child and also the reasoning behind purchasing the items.
The main thing you have to keep in mind is weight distribution. Each item you pick up do consider how much weight its adding to the child's bag. With that said, here is the list you will need. Do note that this is separate from what is needed from the booklist given from the school.
2 Pencil cases
Wallet / Coin Pouch
Smaller bag / Pouch / Wet Bag
You will be tempted to purchase a slightly bigger water bottle thinking your child will need to drink up in school. Remember I mentioned about weight distribution earlier? It is best to purchase a maximum of 500ml bottle. They can easily top up during recess or class breaks. However, if you know they are good drinkers, feel free to purchase higher quantity. I've many incidents whereby the bigger bottles are more prone to spillage and their bags ended up getting wet cause they struggle to finish it up. If possible get those metal or thick plastic type cause these bottles are gonna drop and roll a million times trust me on this. ;)
Unlike our times back in school where we have to starve till recess to get some decent food in the tummy, our kids are blessed with snack time. It will be scheduled in between lessons for them to take a quick break. Nice to hear it however in reality, your child may get a max of 3 mins to gobble down their snacks while writing their worksheets at the same time. This is more so during those days the teachers are trying to finish their syllabus. It happens..
So its best to purchase small durable lunch boxes that can keep snacks like grapes, baby tomatoes, apple slices, bread with cheese or any fast, mess free finger food. Please do not pack Nasi Goreng, Spaghettis or heavy meals in it unless its meant for your child to enjoy during recess and not snack times. My yearly buy would be to go to Daiso and purchase many many sandwich boxes.
2 pencil cases
2? Why 2? Isn't 1 enough? Ok here's the thing. When you purchase color pencils, it comes in a box right? DUMP THAT BOX RIGHT NOWW!! Haiyoo so dramatic ahh.. YES!! Here's why.. That box, within 1 month, is gonna look so torn and tattered you will be wondering if a steam roller went over it. All the color pencils will be scattered all over in the bag, staining all the books and worksheets. Its gonna be an epic mess. So spare yourself and your child the trouble. Throw the box away, put them in a zipper bag.
My best advise would be to avoid those big bulky pencil cases that has the slots for each pencil and ruler and eraser and whatnots. Think of it this way, your child will rush! Most of the time its RUSH! Its easier to just unzip dump things inside the pencil case zip up and done. Do not overpack the pencil case with many unnecessary items. Keep it simple. 4 pencils, 1 ruler, 1 sharpener and 2 erasers, scissors, glue stick. Done!
Wallet / Coin Pouch
Go to any school general office and request to see their lost and found box in January or February and you will see it filled to the brim with wallets and coin pouches. Confirm! You will be tempted to purchase expensive types or the best one for your child. My best advise would be to do that maybe in 2nd half of the year when your child have learned the responsibility of keeping their items safe. Purchase those easy to open wallets so they don't fumble in front of the canteen auntie trying to take out their cash. Velcro and kiss locks types are the best. Best to let them try it out before buying.
There is a simple explanation for this. Mask and Token. It would greatly ease their check in and they can wear their token around their neck. Also when they remove their masks during recess or snack time, their masks wont drop or disappear.
As much as you are tempted to get those with wheels, please don't. It adds on weight to the bag and also post a great risk to both user and classmates. My children have shared many incidents where their classmate who roll their bag up the stairs and accidentally let it go causing it drop down and ended up hurting their friends when the bag hits them. They will be going up and down the stairs a lot. Get those with great padding on the shoulder straps instead. You will want to make sure the bag is as weightless as possible before putting in their books. Do try to look out for those with big capacity and smooth zippers. Do not get those with large teeth as its harder to zip up fast and gets stuck most of the time. Irritating!
Depending on the school dress code, you will be purchasing either black or white school shoes. Most schools that I know of do not allow Mary Janes. Try to get those that your child feels comfortable running in. The more cushion the better. I personally avoid those with shoe laces and Velcro shoes are the best go to for the P1s. They will have to take off shoes during special lessons so please label the shoes clearly if you are getting those common types. Shoes getting exchanged during this period is so common. This type from Bata is my favorite one. Dries fast, non slippery and comfortable.
If your child is of average size, SIZE UP! I've learned this the hard way. My kiddos outgrew their uniform in 6 months!! Especially their pants. My 3rd one shoot up in height and his pants ended up looking like swim shorts by the time its December. Always size up if you can cause they will definitely shoot up during this period.
The best and fuss free file/folder for the P1s is the accordion file. Label their subjects on the top tab and explain to them on putting their worksheets in the right tab. Its light weight and at the same time encourages fast filling. I've tried using those ring folder type, failed cause most worksheets do not comes with holes already punctured. Their teachers will tear chapters off from their workbooks so a good quality and sturdy one is much needed. So far accordion files haven't fail me.
Smaller bag / Pouch / Wet Bag
Similar to the lanyard, this is only needed during these times. The purpose of this bag is to keep wet wipes for wipe down, hand sanitizer, zip lock bag, extra masks and tissue paper. The zip lock bag is for the child to keep their mask during PE lessons or when they need to change to new mask and dispose their old mask. I will also include a pair of undergarments as accidents are prone to happen during toileting and this will save them from a lot of embarrassment. It would be good to continue ensuring the child have these with them all the time as toilets in school do not have bidets most of the time.
I have a motto for stationaries; Keep It Simple. This is the 1st time your child will have many fanciful items with them. Thus, the temptation of innocent stealing will be there. When my eldest was P1, a child in the class was so tempted into having things for himself, he resorted to stealing. He stole boxes of pencil colors and other stationaries and got caught. Also, you will be surprised, how the whole pencil case, wallet, water bottle or snack box, or even SHOES can go missing. So this is not the time to invest in good quality products for them just yet.
I hope this list helps greatly when the time comes for you to start your P1 shopping. Let me emphasize that this is how I have done things and it works. There are many other ways and tips to do this so do explore your options before making any purchases. Good Luck and Happy Shopping!