I cringe whenever my friends (yes, starting from preschool) age kids talk about their packed evening and weekend enrichment schedules. I cringe because I can identify, and I see how easy it is for us – well-meaning parents – to get caught up in a race that’s become more about academic excellence rather than academic help for those who truly need it.
Our own enrichment woes are about Chinese. Although I’ve tried to keep B’s time free for play and bonding, this is one area where we need help in. I harbour no illusions that B will be a top scorer in advanced Chinese, but I do want him to be confident academically when he enters local primary, and not let poor Chinese be his Achilles heel in school, and later on in life. Currently, I haven’t found the right program since B graduated from the parent accompanied playgroups at Chengzhu as the timing and method are not suited for my kinesthetic and auditory learning boy. We’ve tried 1-to-1 tutors at home but B’s too young and lacks the focus to engage 100% with them – and besides, playing and interacting in Chinese with him is something I can do myself. I’m not ready to leave him alone in a brand new (fully Chinese!) environment as he just started half day nursery. So in the interim, we signed up for weekly mom-and-tots flexi sessions at Bibinogs till B turns 2.5 years, hopefully enabling us to enjoy our last few months in class together. Going forward, I’m still searching for a more structured yet interactive class that mixes outside and at home learning. Maybe we’ll trial Berries or Hua nearer us in a few months when he’s ready for another drop off. I’m also in the midst of sourcing more Chinese toddler books and DVDs, but the caveat is this banana-mama needs hanyupinyin to make any sense of the characters 😦 At the moment, the only time he willingly speaks Chinese is when he sings. A start, I guess?
All that said, before you go tiger mom enrichment-crazy on your kid, watch this video – a reminder that too much of a good thing can harm more than help. Let’s not kill their interest before it can bloom!