So June is around the corner and school season is about to start soon. The thought of enrolling my kid to some classes has entered my mind, although with some level of hesitation. See, my kid is just 2.7 years old. Some say that it’s just right age. “Start ’em young!” they say. Others point out that she’s still a baby and shouldn’t be rushed. All these conflicting schools of thought is just downright confusing. From my personal experience though, the concept of early education is completely alien to me. See, I’ve never attended Nursery nor Kindergarten. I don’t know what those are like.
Believe it or not, I started school at 7. You read it right, SEVEN. Course, it has to be said that my mother enrolled me to two different schools when I was 4 and again when I was 6, but I flaked. I didn’t want to go. I think I was bullied in the first school, I don’t really remember. It’s just one big blur to me now. Everyday they would drive me to school but I refused to get off the car. As for the second school, sure I attended the first day orientation but I never came back after that. I just decided I wouldn’t have any of it. I was a stubborn child. I think I still am. With my mother’s failed attempts to send me to school, I just ended up playing all day and all night. I also tagged along with Dad in his out-of-town trips. The world became my classroom.
So when I turned 7, I guess my mom felt the pressure of giving me a formal education as it is what “society dictates”. As they say, third time’s a charm. I stayed but I felt like I was in the twilight zone. Just imagine, here I was a 7 year old kid, who hasn’t had experience sitting in a classroom for more than 2 days, and has zilch reading and writing skills. All of a sudden, I had to learn to mingle and socialize with a classroom full of strangers. I also had no idea what those odd squiggly things were on the blackboard. I learned much later that those were called LETTERS. As all the kids brought out their notes, I struggled trying to copy those squiggly things on paper. The Queen Bee of the classroom looked at my notes and smugly said “Nice handwriting”. I felt like a loser.
But don’t feel bad for me. One evening, my sister sat down with me and taught me that those letters, when put together actually meant something. That same evening, I learned to read. And that totally changed the game. I eventually caught up and quite quickly if I may add. I even beat Ms. Queen Bee in the race for top 1. It felt like the biggest victory of my life. But it was short lived. I realized there really wasn’t anything extraordinary about being in top of the class. In fact, the pressure was intense because when the whole class couldn’t answer a question, you were automatically called by default…Just because you’re top 1. So guess what, it went downhill from there. I guess I just wanted to see what it was like. Or maybe I just wanted to show Queen Bee that I was capable of kicking her butt.
Okay so fast forward to the present… This morning there was an art workshop in our clubhouse. I figured, hey I might as well let the little girl join in to see if she responds well in being with a group. My kid and the yaya went ahead, while I showered to get ready for work. When I got to the clubhouse, I saw these kids but I could not find my child.
She was just twirling and spinning and showing off her “princess” dress, completely oblivious to the goings-on just a few steps away. I then realized at that moment that this little girl may be another “me” in the making. Should I be alarmed?
But when the lecture stopped and the kids starting scrambling to their knees to get their art materials, she switched. She ran towards the clubhouse and found herself a spot. She hurriedly took off her shoes and was more than eager to begin. Strange. Very strange.
Here she is just doing her own thang.
Having observed how she reacted to this kind of environment is giving me mixed signals. There’s actually a pretty good progressive school who has been eager to have her on board in their toddler classes. But the truth is, I’m stalling. The last thing I want is to force her into it. For one thing, she’s not even fully potty-trained yet. But then again the whole talk about the ages 1-5 being the “window of opportunity” for a child’s brain to fully develop (or something like that), has been swimming in my head non-stop. Yeah, I’ve seen that “Your Baby Can Read” infomercial a gazillion trillion times. But I guess at the end of the day, what I really want is for her to never feel embarrassed and belittled like I once felt when I was a kid.
On the upside, if there’s anything I’ve picked up from this morning is that she really seems to be heavily interested in the art activity. Perhaps I should consider enrolling her in art class instead? Ugh. I’m confused.
This is where you come in. I wanna know, what is your take in this whole early schooling thing? I think I need to hear what you have to say so I can weigh my options and hopefully make a sound decision. Help!