24 June 2005

Schooling my rants

Today, the irresponsibility of my parenting style was pointed out to me in no uncertain terms!

Aditi will be five in three years! And I haven't enrolled her in the waiting list for admission in a single 'international' school! Apparently I should have done it a year ago! The Aussie school closed their waiting list for 2008. The Canadian one has not. Perhaps if I know a parent who sends their kids to the American school, I might get a place on the waiting list. And why isn't she enrolled in a gifted program? Why doesn't she go to playschool?

Whoa.. wait. Cease and Desist!

Wow... She's not two, not quite potty trained, and I have to worry about something that's going to happen three years from now? I still haven't decided what playschool she will go to when she turns 2.

I found today's observations scary. What are we pushing kids to? Come on, gifted programs at 2? It's nice to think my child might be gifted, but pressure to perform when she's not quite two? This is going to be a rant that's been bugging me a while. So if you don't care, don't read on.

All I remember of school days is coming back home from school, glugging down Bournvita at record speeds, and running out of the house to play with the other kids who lived in the street. Playtime of course was seasonal. When the streetlights came on, it was time to go home, finish homework, eat dinner, watch TV and then crash. The only time this routine varied was during exams, but then too I remember getting at least a small slot to get some fresh air and sunshine.

Today I found out that there are 60 families with kids that go to primary school in this apartment complex. 60 out of 150. Not bad? Well, read on. Guess how many of them I see in the swimming pool or playground? All of 4! The only others in the playground every evening are under 5 years old. Isn't this ridiculous?

I asked one parent who let her child out to play today as a 'treat' for doing well in tests why I didn't see him more often. The answer was simple. There are other priorities. What priorities?? He's only 7. It's so unnatural to see a 7 year old sit by his mother while other kids are running around like their tails are on fire.

I would anyday prefer to watch my little one run around the playground than sit so quietly in one corner. I want her to have fun at school. Not worry about whether her 2nd standard grades will get her a scholarship to Harvard or not. I want her to associate sunny days with a happy splashing time in the pool, not training for the school squad (which again might get her a scholarship to Harvard or not). Maybe these are just pipe dreams for now. But I am most certainly NOT going to waitlist her in schools right away and unconsciously pressure her to prepare for a spot there.

Right now I need to decide on a good playschool. Should I pick the one where the teacher welcomed her with open arms and a smile as big as her heart, or the one with more outdoor play area?? Definitely not the one where the older kids looked smarter and the younger ones cried themselves to sleep!

Maybe my priorities are wrong, but I want her to be happy.


Axe said...

I would like to make the observation that it's also a question of Supply & Demand here ...

There are a few "good" schools in any given city, and hence a limited number of seats. On the demand side of things, you do have about 2 million human beings bonking like maniacal rabbits. So whats the ratio of supply & demand in Singapore?

Don't you think its a natural reaction of parents to try to get their kids ahead of the pack? Because the moment ONE person starts it, you've got a million others who also have to go in for piano classes, elocution lessons, etc. etc. just to keep up with the Joneses.

Anonymous said...

Awww...she is adorable, you are doing a great job with her. I can hear it in your words:)

Taz Snow said...

Vee...folks always think if you are not on the whole best-education-top-training-crap bandwagon you must either not have what it takes...money, brains...or must be deficient in some criminal way (we grew up facing this!!).

Forget folks. Screw keeping up with the Joneses or the Kumars.

Truth be told kids lose out on the best parts of their lives because we are in such a hurry to grow them up....and grow them up to be whatever we could not be.

You have the right idea...go with it girl! So long as Aditi grows up knowing a good Life, am sure her native intelligence will take her through wherever SHE wants to go.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? You need to be reported to child services! Your kid has to be given the best she can be given! She would get to play at school now, wouldn't she?