Like a large growing number of Singaporean parents, I am currently doing my parent volunteer duties on FRI, 2-JAN at a nearby primary school, looking forward to secure a place there when the placement and balloting takes place mid 2009.
Here's a little introduction to newbies to parent volunteer work. Due to their popularity (especially when their students performed remarkably over the years for their PSLE results), a number of primary schools may resort to a balloting exercise when demand is greater than supply of places in their schools. And so parent volunteer work, whilst not compulsory, may (and the word to note is may) put the parent volunteer's kid(s)' chances to be better in securing these scarce places in the schools of the parent's choice. A total of 40 hours of parent volunteer duties are required of the kid's parents (father, mother combined).
Tough, yeah, believe you me, it was TOUGH. Why? Well for one thing, my legs and knees were turning jelly after 4 hours of arranging books in the school library, standing and stooping, shifting books around the shelves all the time!
The other 2 hours were well more relaxing in comparison. The 12 parent volunteers, including myself, who turned up were responsible for guiding the new primary one pupils in the canteen, observing them as they bought their food(some probably for the first time in their lives). The freshies were fine. Each of them were paired with an older student from the school who helped them along - introducing the food in the canteen and helping them with their selection, payment and carrying of the plates of food. A couple of the freshies appear to be lost, terrified when faced with the prospect of ordering their food, collecting and accounting for their change. This is definitely a good practice of independence and practical maths - mental note taken to inculcate in Elijah.
More interesting and fun experiences to come, I am sure for the next 34 hours of my remaining duties in the school!
For more info on the various phases of primary one school registration, you could click on the following link in the Ministry of Education website. And there are also a number of community sites out there discussing on this very topic - just search and you shall find.