Tag Archives: kindergarten

I Was Wrong About Early Education

Okay, so first of all I have to admit that until yesterday, me and my husband was planning to postpone this preschool thing until Bintang is 4 years old next year. We thought, instead of paying some amount of money NOW, for activities which only lasts for 1 year, why not keep the money and use it to add our primary school fund later. And second, I personally believe that my son is just not yet ready for a regular activity in a classroom, with tutors, and friends..

But I guess, you can all call me a hypocrite for changing my mind, or.. well, simply realize that as a parent, changing our minds is very normal when it comes to deciding what’s best for our kids.

😀

So after thinking too much about it, I finally decided to take my son yesterday, to Sanggar Kreativitas Bona (Bona Creativity Class) and experienced a marvelous two-hour class of fun, friendship and now I can’t erase them from my mind! I was also heavily influenced by how the 3 year-old kids in Finland spent their time everyday, and was being fascinated by the Finnish education system, so badly, that I plan to give my son the same opportunity, even though it’s not going to be free here.

There are also other reasons such as this book by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, especially on the chapter titled “Searching for Intelligent Life in Kindergarten” and the introduction of Tools of The Mind Program which can develop children imagination as well as teaching them on how to self-regulate themselves through better managing their executive functions.

Perhaps I’ve read to much, and was pretty curious on how my son would react to playschool activities. What ever it was, yesterday’s experience kinda blow me away. To my surprise, my son turned out to be very communicative to the teachers, and he did everything the teacher told him to do. He played with other kids, talked to other kids, asked (a lot) of questions to the teacher, and when the class is over, he refused to leave!

I am sinful for underestimating my own child’s capability. The fear that my son will be quiet and scared during the two-hours of classroom activities.. It didn’t happen!

And I admit that I was wrong about neglecting the importance of early education, at some part. I will tell you more about this playschool that my son tried yesterday on separate blog.

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School for My 3 Year-Old?

Lately I’ve been very confused in determining whether or not to send my 2,9 year-old son to a preschool. As a mother who is totally hooked with the internet, I often do some research before making any parenting decisions. Sometimes, I find my answers, but sometimes I became even more confused.

What I need to explain first, is that every child is different, and just because I decide something that is not like most parents/mommies, it doesn’t mean I disrespect other opinions.

After giving some thoughts, and having searched the web for different alternatives, plus those enormous discussions I had with my husband, we have decided that my son will not be going to school this year.

Here’s why:

1. The cost, to send our son, to this Elementary School of our current choice  (which shall be paid 3 years from now) is way above our financial capability.

However, we strongly believe that this is the place where my son can “unleash” his full skills and abilities under its flexible curriculum. The school is also located very near to our house, and it focused on the application of theories in the real world. Therefore, we will do whatever is possible, we will work hard, save our money the best way we can. And by saving money, it means we will also save the money we have prepared for play group fees. 

If he goes to school NOW, we will lose some amount of money which we can SAVE for his elementary school fees.

2. My idea that regular schedule at play groups can increase his self-confidence and social skills is NOT a hundred-percent correct.

My son hates crowd. Especially a bunch of kids and adults staring at him, telling him to do stuffs, or are playing with his toys. I see this respond again last week when we have a party at our house, and my son did nothing but observing others. He also need some time to ‘warm up’ his engine before being able to relate to others, before he can talk friendly to others the way he never stop talking so much to his family.

There are other reasons, such as to give him better options besides TV, to increase the possibility of introducing him to letters, alphabets, art & craft activities, music, paintings, art and other educational stuffs.

However apparently, this great article have given me some thoughts about the mistakes most parents did when it comes to sending their kids to school. It was the idea of, “is my child ready for school?” instead of asking, “is the school ready to accept my child?”

We don’t expect our kids to be friendly to others by sending him to school, we must prepare them to be friendly. As mentioned on the article,

Indicators of “readiness” include possessing a level of composure and the ability to cope when things go wrong, being able to speak clearly and engage with adults so that they can say when they need help, understanding the importance of being able to share and play nicely with other children, and the beginnings of some responsibility so that they can look after their belongings.

Consider not just the importance of an emotional readiness for school and the confidence to make friends, but how well developed a child’s fine motor skills are. Can your child hold a pencil correctly? Draw simple shapes? Write their name? Dress themselves? Use a pair of scissors? Hop, skip and jump and tie their shoelaces?

And I very much agree with one of the comments in the article, that parents tend to force their children to school, which will put the burden to the teachers, instead of teaching their kids by themselves first, to give experiences which they need.

The biggest problem today is that parents are not being expected to ready their children for school and life in general. Teachers are having to spend a great deal of their time teaching children basic skills that should have been taught at home.

Bottom line, I plan to give more experiences child to my son before he starts school, that way he will have better abilities to cope with problems that will arise at school, such as sharing, independence, concentrating, and asking for help. I don’t need play group classes on which its fees will decrease the saving for my son’s elementary school, I can teach him myself.

Here’s what I’m going to do with my son for this year, now that he’s not going to any school yet..

1. Teach him on how to eat, drink, brush teeth, bathe, wear clothes, pants and shoes, by himself.

2. Teach him on how to draw shapes and associate each shape with everyday stuffs. (Or just follow some samples of children activities in this website).

3. Introduction to letters and numbers (will buy posters of letters, numbers and tracing books if necessary).

4. How to sort, match, compare, and perhaps.. count?

5. How to take turns, share toys, and get involved with other kids, maybe I will send him to this robotic course where he can play with these fantastic educational legos and listen to his tutor.

6. Will take him to the swimming pool, playground, animal museum, zoo and parks, more frequently.

Anyway, this is just my personal decision and thoughts, I still respect other parents who choose to send their kids to school as early as 3 years, and wish them and their kids the best.

I just need to save more money and help my son to be more independent, self-confidence and ready to start (and actually enjoy staying at) school. And when he does, I will NOT neglect my parenting responsibility to educate him, and leave it to his school teachers, I will still do everything I can to dig out his true talent, skills, and abilities, and support them the best way I can.

Because in the end, as written by Ms Tiffany Cooper here, children spend less than 20 percent of their waking hours in school, so we can’t expect schools to teach children everything they need to know. It is a shared responsibility between school and parents to create learning environments and opportunities within our homes, to support kids’ curiosity and critical thinking capabilities.

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A School is..

Smart children are those who do well in school. Who can pass tests, and got good grades.

Oh yeah?

Well, I’m not against test.

It’s just that we need to have the right kind of test, to measure a child’s capability, skills, and to find out which are his/her strengths/weakness.

We can’t use standardized test to every child in order to determine whether they are smart or stupid, whether they deserve to move to the next class/grade or to repeat at the same grade, to pass or not to pass. Every child is different, unique and have their own skills and interests, and school tests are supposed to be adjustable to this.

Children who do well in sport or art subjects, have the same opportunity with children who do well in mathematics or linguistics. Both are equally smart, but they are different in the areas of strength.

Apparently, school and the whole system have failed to see this, but we, as parents, must put it in our mind and help our children to regain their self-esteem.

Every children have their own strength and weakness, they are unique, special, and deserve the same opportunity. And yet, there are educational institutions (even the most expensive ones, or especially those expensive ones!) who is using a standardized test to determine whether a child belong or doesn’t belong to their school.

Yesterday, I did some research to three kindergartens in my neighborhood. My son will turn 3 this May, and maybe I will send him to a pre-K institution. I have to admit, I got disappointing result because all three institutions are focusing on introduction to numbers, alphabets, enforcing reading ability, and mathematical ability as their main target, and forgot other areas which need to be emphasized as much as numbers/alphabets.

This is pretty common for early education institutions to be focusing on math and reading as the main subject, dominating 70-80 percent of their curriculum. The remaining 20 percent of the curriculum, goes to other areas such as musical ability, socialization, art/craft, sport activities, and technology/computers. This is so wrong for me, because I want my son to learn (more appropriately, to play) in an institution which have equal/balanced curriculum between academic and non-academic.

It will be a heaven for parents whose children are talented with numbers, alphabets, math and linguistics. But for kids who haven’t got any interest on numbers of alphabets, they will obviously be considered as “less smart” just because they love to draw pictures, able to swim, ride a bicycle, play lego, or sing a song perfectly on pitch.

Not only they will have lower self esteem due to their slow ability in learning numbers/alphabets, the pressure from friends, teachers, and even parents will ruin the child’s entire schooling experience.

So it’s not enough for us to constantly demand the correct education system, to send our children to expensive schools or courses, we must open our eyes as wide as possible and spent enormous quality times with our children to understand what their interest are, what their skills are and what areas are their strength/weakness.

In the end, school as a place to learn will have “some” responsibility to teach certain things to our child, but the belief that “I have sent my child to a reputable school with great program, great curriculum and great teachers. I am sure the result will be satisfying, and I can relax a little bit..” is WRONG. School is one source of knowledge, but it’s not the only one.

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