I wanted to share a comment from a post I wrote earlier:
“Recently talked with a friend, who has 3 kids (2 boys 5-6yrs & 1 girl 2yrs). The boys are in some playschool kindergarten since 3 yrs old, and the school is Montessori type less focus on academic.
My friend told me, he was quite pleased since the beginning, and seeing how his boys learn to share stuffs together, and having quality time without stress with homework. But… when they reach 5-6years, he started to worry, when his boys unable to pronounce and recognize Bahasa Malaysia sukukata properly.
He is now rethinking whether he should send his girl to the same type of school. He commented, if the boys unable to master these at this age, their foundation will be poor and unable to catch up in primary later.
This makes me ponder, why are all the parents having the academic-oriented mindset? Is that really the foundation? Will I be one of them when I found out my boy is not par with the rest? Can I keep compose, and confident to my approach, and believe to my son & right brain education? Did I provide him the sufficient right brain education?”
I confess that the same fears enter my thoughts. As much as I know that what my children bring home on their report cards from school is not a measure for their potential success in later life, there will always be that thought – what if it does? Perhaps it boils down to my own upbringing and the compulsion I felt to ace all my subjects at school and the feeling of failure if I did not.
There is nothing wrong with feeling this way. We’re parents and by virtue of that fact, we will want the best for our children. If there is a possibility of giving them a leg-up in life, most of us will take it, I’m sure. But that doesn’t mean that what we fear will translate into the truth. The fear isn’t that our children won’t be ahead. It is a fear that they will be behind. Perhaps that is a very Asian way of thinking.
Regardless of what triggers these feelings, the important thing is to recognise them and be able to weed them out so they don’t cloud our choices for our children. The future successes of our children is not measured by how many A’s they achieved in school or how well they perform academically because there is so much more that goes into the mix of a successful person. You could be a straight A student but completely unimaginative and lacking in creativity; or lacking in social skills or leadership skills. All these are important for an individual aspiring to be successful. To top it off, would you want your child to be “successful” if it meant compromising his emotional health? Is it worth being successful but unhappy?
When we talk about early learning and early childhood development programs, I believe that due consideration must also be given to the other aspects of developing a child that help provide “roundedness” as we have defined previously as part of what makes a successful child.
It seems so apt that just as I was pondering all this, I was referred to an interesting blog post about 9 Essential Skills Kids Should Learn from Zen Habits that I thought highlighted wonderfully the core skills we should be focussing on helping our children develop:
- Asking Questions
- Solving Problems
- Tackling Projects
- Finding Passion
- Being Happy on their Own
- Dealing with Change
For a more in depth discussion on each point, I refer you to the original blog post on Zen Habits.