Tuesday 18 July 2017

Phase 2B: We parent volunteered

It's the phase 2B week. We have successfully registered our number two, Jare into the school system for P1 next year. It was a phase I never thought we will fall into.

Phase 2B:
(a) For a child whose parent has joined the primary school as a parent volunteer not later than 1 July 2016 and has given at least 40 hours of voluntary service to the school by 30 June 2017
(b) For a child whose parent is a member endorsed by the church / clan directly connected with the primary school
(c) For a child whose parent is endorsed as an active community leader

It was option (a) for us. 

We did a calculated risk and checked with the school we eyed before deciding that 40 hours will be a contained risk for us. While some schools require beyond 40 hours of volunteer service, as if parents should devote their days to being a full time school volunteer or keep their fingers constantly on alert to responding the call of hours fulfillment. It's ridiculous when friends tell me it's 80 hours or even endless hours for some extremely popular schools. That's insane! 

Once upon a time, when my kids were still far away from primary registration, I sneered and was much sure I will not join the race of being a parent volunteer, in hope of getting to a popular school. Such path should be eliminated, I thought. 

I spoke too early, the day came! Plan A of putting all kids in the same school didn't work out, plan B was getting Jazz into my alma mater which is a girl's school. So great! I've 2 boys. These hassle were all in them name of, "I don't think all school are good schools." We had a weird decision (to some) of going through such admission exercise twice, when it could be just an easy phase 1 for most.

About 18 months ago, the man and I embarked on a volunteering journey in our potential school. We took students on excursion, we did games and activities in school, we did library duties and whatever duties that would help us clock 40 hours. Happy we are, but honestly, there is greater joy in serving when your child is already in the school. You feel the connection and relationship. It was a great way though, to be more sure of your choice when you step in to witness the school's culture.

Not easy are these volunteers serving with an uncertain outcome. In the name of being kiasu, I do know of some volunteers who served 2 potential schools or did parent volunteer as back up for more school options. 

It can be a painful outcome to have spent hours and hours of time for a potential school and end up with no placement. While some families are extreme risk takers, we like ours calculated. If there are a few options on the school you eyed, run a detailed check on the volunteers intake and number of hours required. It helps much in managing expectations. If not, start being involved as a community leader early. It has more school options than just volunteering in a particular school. 

What is your game plan?

I think this phase is beaming bright for us, and it's looking prominent with no likelihood of ballot. As a Mum, it is beyond a phase of registration but the swelling of mixed emotions that my kids are growing too quickly. It's true when we say we should treasure every moment of their growing up.

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