Friday, February 24, 2006

Start reading from what age?

I spotted an ad in the newspaper:

It is possible to teach your baby to read
The proven success!
  • 8 month old babies recognising words
  • 2 1/2 year old children reading in three languages - English, Bahasa & Mandarin
And the ad encouraged parents to call them for a seat in their seminar which is FREE for now. My question is.... What's the hurry? I've also seen a banner near my home advertising Mandarin classes for 3-6 year olds. "Recognise 1000 words by age 3!" the banner shouts. What's the point of recognising those words if the child doesn't understand what those words are?

Children are very observant. By spending time with them through play and singing, they are like sponges, picking up things when you didn't even know they were listening. I believe in exposing children to the world, pointing out what is around them. Teach them colour by pointing out how leaves are green, the sky is blue and flowers come in different shapes and colours. Listen to the sound of birds and insect. How the kettle whistle when the water is boiling. I believe in expanding a child's world and not start limiting them to what is in front of their faces, just looking at books and computer. How about feeling pebbles under our toes when we're dipping our feet in the stream? Children learn that the stream water is cool and milo poured out from a flask is hot and it warms their tummy. The grass feels squishy under our feet and the best ground to fall on is on the grass and not on concrete.

In the same newspaper were features and ads for music schools, child development classes, tutorial for languages, speech and drama school, mental arithmetics, language centre, etc. So many places for parents to spend money! With going to school, doing homework and going for all these activities, is there anytime left for parents and children to spend time together? A vicious cycle is formed: Both parents work to provide their children with the best by sending their children to dance classes, speech and drama classes, tutorials, tae kwando, soccer clinics, child development classes, kiddies gym. These courses/classes cost a bomb, so they work more to make more money. With less time to spend with their kids, they send their kids for more classes. Aiyo...

I'm looking for a playschool so Adam can make some friends and have fun. Frankly, after looking at several playschools, I'm not in a hurry to send him to school. Most of these schools are already talking about teaching barely-3-year-olds to write and read. At Adam's age, their motor skills are not developed enough to handle writing yet. I will be quite happy if Adam drew me a circle and calls it a car, 'coz in his mind it is a car he had drawn. I am looking for a school where Adam will be able to dance, play games and sing the whole time he is there. Maybe build some blocks, learn to button, string beads and more singing and dancing.

One school we went to started talking about maths and science. For their 3-year-old class?? If she had told me that this term they're learning all about transportation, that they'll sing songs about cars, trains and buses, make crafts to do with transportation, pretend to be aeroplanes and zoom around the class, I would have signed him up straight away. No such luck!

I guess the solution may be to form a regular playgroup with other family with children of similar age to Adam. Anyone game to join me? Let's meet twice a week, for 3 hours (with snack break). We'll start with transportation for 2 months (March-April).


Blogger me said...

send my kids to "the children's house" when they were younger. not so much emphasis on studying, more about co-ordination and activities, as well as socialising. but found it too structured for my kids. they insist that all kids must play in the same way. so, then i sent them to nakorn sari in pj. they have pets corner, outdoor play area, sing song. the emphasis is more on learning through playing and singing. it's not as organised cos it's home-based but i like the personal touch. check it out. anyway, some parents send kids at a young age not for them to pick up writing or reading skills but for the most important skill, socialising. if they stick too much to us, they lose their individuality and social skills; like sharing, manners and respect for others. they mimic us too much; what we say and do. not all kids are like that, of course. to each their own.

10:13 am  
Blogger fishtail said...

Very soon, they'll be teaching 3 year old how to surf the net. Remember some crazy politician talking about giving every baby an email address not too long ago?

3:52 pm  
Blogger Min said...

fishtail, I'm quite sure parents are sending young children to computer classes already. My almost-3-year-old already knows how to use the mouse to play online games on the Pingu, Sesame Street and Thomas the Tank Engine sites :D Nope, he is NOT attending any computer class. I take the blame for it :))

7:34 pm  
Blogger Lian said...

Hey, I got a great resource book from the Times Warehouse sale and at a great price too. Have you been there. If not hurry coz' it's still up (I think). Anyway, I think you will love resource book coz' it's got tons of themes you could do with your child. My friend had a good look at it and told me you could do 2 years worth of stuff. If you cannot find it let me know. I bought extra.

8:25 pm  
Blogger Min said...

Lian, sounds like a good book you got there. I do not have time to go check out the Times warehouse sale. Can you spare me a copy of the book please? Thanks.

9:45 pm  

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