Things to prepare for Primary One and after school student care in Singapore

[By Big C]

Photo by VisionPic .net on

This is going to be a list of items with my comments and recommendations to help you with your preparation for your coming Primary One, especially if he/she will be attending after school care! Hope my experience will be helpful to you.

Many of the stuff I would recommend would be from online sellers or Popular bookstore.

If you would like more information specific to infant care or child care, do read my other entries! They would be helpful for your selection of centres too!

Infant care – Read here
Child care – Read here

Things to prepare for school

1. Name Labels

I don’t know if you have heard all the horror stories of how your kid is going to lose practically everything except him/herself. It is pretty TRUE STORY! So really name labels are the way to go! Big E has quite a number of things that came back to her because they were labelled.

2 types of labels you will need to get – the sticker type for everything you possibly can think of and iron-on type for their uniforms etc. Don’t be surprised that they can misplace their uniform too! This would be even more important if they are attending after school care.

The Emma Shop on Shopee

2. Stationery

Wait for Popular bookstore Back to School / POPClub sale! You can sign up online for their members – student gets it cheaper! The discounts for POPClub members can be pretty attractive! This is also the time where the brands will roll out some bundle buys or 3 for $10 value buys.

– 2B Pencils
LOTSA of it! We use Staedtler pencils – the traditional blue type with eraser at the top. They work well for Big E. Occasionally she loses it but usually she is able to use till it is too short!
Do ensure that they are sharpened every night and preferably maintain 3 in her pencil case.

– Erasers
Also LOTSA of it please! These can disappear at an alarming rate! Or sometimes a friend may borrow it and it is gone for good somewhere…. We got the black types as well as the white types, even the exam types. Actually they work about the same, be it Staedtler or Popular house brand or MONAMI. My girl did point out Suremark is good but I cannot find it anymore in Popular at Hougang Mall. We had just a few pieces from long time ago.

– Ruler
Get 15cm will do, easier to manage and it can fit well in their pencil case. You might want to consider getting some standby pieces if you are using plastic ones in case it gets broken or out of shape. There are metal versions too but I find that being opaque, it is difficult for them to gauge where they are drawing on the paper.

– Colour pencils
You are likely to need 12 colour set. You might be tempted to get 24 colour / 48 colours. Just consider the weight and how you would pack it. Those cardboard boxes dont last very well with the kids. And be prepared to buy MORE sets to keep! I bought 12-colour sets as well as the 24 and 48. Reason is they tend to finish certain colours first. So when it happens, I will replace the colour. For vanity sake, I will slip in a few special colours from the 24 or 48 packs. =P

Recommendation: Check out Popular for their value packs! For eg Staedtler Luna would usually come in 12 colour x 2 packs at $5.00 or 24 colour x 2 packs at $10.00. Sometimes you will see Stabilo / Faber Castell too. Staedtler Luna is our go-to!

– Glue
We started with liquid glue which Big E says everyone was fascinated with and will keep borrowing from her. And liquid being liquid will take more time to dry and her stuff sometimes get messy. After a few bottles, I swop her to glue sticks! Similarly, look out for them in Popular. They have 3pc packs.

– Scissors
Was told later that sometimes she needs it during Art Class. We got those twin packs from Popular as well. Good size to fit into pencil cases. There are some japanese kid-safe types. Go explore!

– Sharpener
This is one big consideration!! You will want to choose one that can fit into the pencil case YET has a sufficient compartment for the shavings. You will also want your child to be able to empty it on their own if necessary. I think the sufficient compartment space is most important as teachers usually don’t like the students to keep going up to the dustbin.

Recommendation: Maped sharpener at $1.10 are the best! Cheap and good!

– Pencil case
It should basically not be super bulky. Easy simple would be great for Primary Ones!
You might want to check this out if your child loves cartoon designs. Most cartoons like Paw Patrol, Avengers, Frozen have pencil cases that are hard boxes or metallic cases. These comes in canvas.

3. ID Card Holder with Lanyard

This would be useful when they get their own EZ Link student card (sometime in April). It would make it more convenient for them to use when taking bus / train. They will need it for safe entry scanning as well at student care centres.

These personalised ones are great!
Generic designs: click here
Tokidoki designs: click here
Super Heroes designs: click here

4. Wallet / purse / coin pouch / POSB Smart Buddy watch

Keep it simple is the key! They are going to just spend between 50cents and $1.80? They will need quick access to take and keep the money before carrying their food.

You can get one of these personalised canvas ones, similar to the pencil cases.

5. Water Bottle

You would want a right size bottle since they would not be able to go to the water coolers that often during class time, yet you would not want them to lug a super heavy bottle everywhere. 500ml would be ideal. We got Big E a 700ml one but we usually fill it to 500ml and if need be, within school, she can top it up more.

– Personalised Water bottle strap, this is very useful! It can fit different size bottle and you can add name or initial. Click here.
– Impact Tritan water bottles, these are simple and good! Click here.
– All time favourite Tupperware ECO bottles, check with The Emma Shop as they are authorised Tupperware dealer.

6. School Bag

This is very important since it will affect your child’s posture. It will also have an impact on how they manage their things and pack. Personally, I prefer a bag that is firm and upright. It should also have compartments to help arrange things.

Try to ensure it is not too heavy when empty, comfortable straps and do a quick fitting for your child would be best.

Big E is using this DeLune which is working well so far! Other options would include POPClub and Dr Kong. They are also ergonomic backpacks which are popular among my mummy friends as well as being spotted in school. There is also large group of students using Smiggle due to the attractive designs.

Update: We bought Big E a Smiggle during sale and it turns out to unexpectedly comfortable and durable! I am sold and dropping my prejudice towards Smiggle bags.

7. Snack Box and Lunch Bag

Nowadays other than recess, the kids will be given short snack time in class where they will be given 10min or so to eat at their own desk. It is usually around noon, guess to buffer them for lunch which will be around 2pm.

Schools usually advise us to bring dry snacks, less messy and easy to manage for the kids. Also, to ensure that they are healthier snacks – aka no chips. Haha.

Choose a less bulky snack box if you can and definitely one that your child can manage in terms of opening, closing, packing back to bag.

Big E enjoys fruits so I usually try to pack some fruits and add a small ice pack and a small fork. And I use this Captain America snack box from Miniso! It comes with smaller plastic holders inside for partition.

– IKEA 365+ , check them out physically. Pretty good choices I feel. Or quick browse online.
– For thermal lunch bags, you can consider these kinds.
– These handle wraps are great for labelling any bags you may have, check out here.

8. School Shoes and Socks

We got ours from school when we got the books. They are cheap and good. I also like the school logo socks! I have to say we are lucky as they were good quality too.
Subsequently, we shop for school shoes from this shoe shop call Vivian and Sean. They have considerably good selection of school shoes. They have 4 outlets – Hougang Mall, Ang Mo Kio Hub, NorthPoint and Bukit Panjang Plaza.

Instead of our old-school “painting” method, I actually got a nano waterproof spray, hoping it can keep the shoes clean for a longer time and easier to wash them off before I recoat!
I ordered mine from here.


The new normal. There is chance that this may still be required next year. Similar to current, just try to ensure that they have fresh pieces to change to. Remind them to keep their mouth clean before putting back on the masks. Also, do consider that most primary schools do not have air conditioning in regular class rooms unlike many child care centres. So need to get them something comfy to wear.

Things to prepare for after-school care

1. Wet bags for change of clothes

These will be useful for you to pack their fresh set of clothes. Prior to COVID-19 outbreak, they do take showers so I will usually pack her towel in as well. Now with the outbreak, the centre has changed to only wipe down and change of clothes.

We prepared 2 so it was easy to rotate, and we will drop off the next day’s set when we pick her in the evening. This was doing well till COVID measures kick in where she is not allowed to leave things there, and she will have to bring it everyday on her own.

You can, of course choose to use plastic bags but I find these wet bags very very useful and easy to manage even for her. They have been my must-have since their days in infant care.

Pretty and personalisable ones, click here.
Basic ones, click here.

2. Prepare wet wipes
Useful for them to wipe down.

Try this Korean ones – Gomdoli, pretty good, click here.

3. Extra pair of slippers
The student care centre / after school care centres will likely allow the kids to wear slippers around the centre. This will vary centre to centre. For ours, we need the extra pair of slippers for her as they will wear it to shower as well as movement around the centre. Only the nap room is shoes-free. Before this, actually Big E only wears sandals but for convenience of shower etc, I went to get her a pair of slippers. We got her a pair of Neckermann slippers from one of those mall shoe shop which is now closed and I cannot remember the name.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or write to me at!

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