When his Primary 2 son told him he had forgotten to take a robotics coursebook to an enrichment class, Mr Alvyn Lim gave up part of his lunch break to deliver the book to the boy at his student care centre.
“He told me that he couldn’t continue with the lesson if he didn’t have the book, and my workplace in Alexandra was quite close by,” said Mr Lim, 36, whose son studies at Radin Mas Primary School.
But if the same thing happened during school hours, Mr Lim, a senior manager, will no longer be allowed to drop the book off at school.
In recent years, at least nine other schools, like Radin Mas, have blown the whistle against this example of classic “helicopter parenting” – parents who hover unnecessarily over their children at the expense of nurturing their child’s independence.
In a letter to parents in March last year, Bukit Timah Primary said that in a single term, it had more than 60 requests from parents to pass forgotten items like homework or money to pupils. It told parents that it will no longer interrupt classes to hand over items to children.
“We believe that children can be taught to be responsible for their belongings and their actions,” said the school.
Likewise, CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh) principal, Mrs Margaret Tan, told parents in February last year that the school has seen a spike in such incidents, and urged parents to teach their children to resolve the problem independently.
“If the (pupil) has forgotten to bring the item to school, we ask that the (pupil) has the courage to inform the teacher. She will be showing traits of integrity when she owns up to the oversight,” said Mrs Tan in the letter.