“My school uniform”
A week before I started school on 2 January 2017, my parents made me wear my school uniform just to make me feel how nice it would look on me and to get me used to it. They want me to start my childhood by socialising with different racial and religious communities of Singapore.
My name is Nur Iffah Muhammad Imran. I am two and a half years old in January, and the school, Sparkle Tots Preschool, is in Bedok North. My class is Nursery 1, a daily two-hour play-group class with15 multi-racial children.
My first day at school began from my paternal grandparent’s home. I call my grandmother “Nani” and my grandfather “Atuk”.
Both Nani and Atuk have given me lots of school-life encouragement. They made me feel that school-life is interesting, saying I would have many friends, have many toys to play, play games with the teachers and learn many things.
MY FIRST DAY
Since I was six months old, Mommy and Daddy have been sending me to Atuk’s home at around 6:15 in the morning on weekdays and then go to work. They fetched me home around 7 pm after having dinner at Atuk and Nani’s home.
I was excited on my first day of school. As my school starts at 10 in the morning, at about 8:45 am Nani bathed me and put on my school uniform. I didn’t like the white and red uniform. My favourite colour has always been pink. I made fun of it at first. Below are some photos of me in my uniform.
But, a few minutes later I began to like my uniform. The colours are like that of the Singapore’s flag – the white colour stands for purity and virtue while the red stands for brotherhood and the equality of man.
That morning Mommy was able to take a few hours off her work and so she came back from her school to take me, Atuk and Nani to my school. Daddy was unable to get leave. But he has given me lots of kisses early that morning.
I entered my classroom with some unease and held my Mommy’s hand tightly. Atuk and Nani too came into the classroom. Since it was the first day, parents, grandparents and guardians were allowed in, and our two teachers, Teacher Casey and Teacher Pauline, talked about our school matters to them while many of us, seeing the numerous play-things in the room, excitedly walked around touching and lifting this and that.
Soon, our first day ended and we were happy. I love school. There so many things to play. And I shall make friends with the other children. But for today, my first day, I want to go home.
We were also happy throughout the week because only one acquainted person of every child, usually a parent or a grandparent, was allowed to be with us in the classroom while our teachers sang nursery rhymes and danced with us. In my case, while both Nani and Atuk took me to school but only Nani was with me in the classroom. Atuk stood and loitered outside, occasionally peering from the open windows to make sure I was alright.
The real anxiety began in the second and third week when the parent, grandparent or guardian were told to leave the classroom slowly after about an hour. Of course, many of the children wailed and cried. I sobbed, crying “Nak Nani, nak Nani” (I want Nani, I want Nani) and pointing my hand in the direction of the door but my teachers consoled me.
I looked glad that the ordeal of the day was over and my loves ones were there to take me home.
Everyday, at the end of the class, when our parent/grandparent came to fetch us, our teachers hugged us one by one and we bid them goodbye.
By the middle of the third week, a few of my classmates were still, like the previous days, afraid to go into the classroom unaccompanied. They cried, some refused to go in. But our qualified teachers were firm and took charge of us. But, I made friends. Now I have many friends.
I was no longer scared, but I was tensed when Nani left me to wait for me outside the classroom. The windows were closed so no parent/grandparent distracted our attention while we were with our teachers. Most of the wailing and sobbing children slowly calmed down with the close attention of our teachers.
On the last couple of days of the third week, I did not cry at all. I have developed confidence to be on my own. Thanks to my teachers for their care and love of us. That made me confident of myself. They are wonderful. Both my teachers gave the thumbs up to Nani and Atuk when they came to the door to fetch me.
Everyday, at the end of the class, when our parent/grandparent came to fetch us, our teachers hugged us one by one and we bid them goodbye. I love my teachers.
CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
The end of January was a time for joy as students all over Singapore celebrated the Chinese New Year (CNY) on its eve. We too celebrated. There was no need to wear our uniform and many of us came to school in “red”, the auspicious colour of the Chinese New Year custom, many wearing red Chinese attire. I was wearing a dark blue Chinese attire. We had lots of fun. We wished our teachers a very Happy New Year.
BACK TO SCHOOL
After the long Chinese New Year holiday weekend, school resumed today (1 February 2017), exactly a month from the day I first stepped into the classroom. It is fun to go back to school.
I love my school uniform, my very first school uniform, and look forward to wearing many other school uniforms along the long journey of my school life. Insya-Allah.
Nur Iffah Muhammad Imran
(Transposed by Atuk Shaik Kadir)
1 February 2017