No playtime for these tykes. To help them prepare to get into a good primary school, Hong Kong parents will often enroll their children in two kindergartens — one in Chinese and one in English, paired with multiple extra curriculars. But according to experts, pushing your toddler to the end of their tiny rope may not be the best plan, the South China Morning Post reports.
“It’s good to expose your child to possibilities but it’s not good to keep pushing them to try things,” said Professor Deborah Eyre, education director of Nord Anglia Education, opening up an international school in Tim Lam next year. “You also want children to think, reflect and develop themselves as individuals”. Some finger painting never hurt, either.
Alongside double kindergarten, parents often enroll their children in several extra curriculars, at a time such as piano, swimming, and painting, to further boost their chances. Eyre says she would not do the same with her own children.
And she would know. Eyre is the former director of UK government’s academy for gifted youth. She illustrated her point by offering the example of Scandinavian countries such as Norway, where children are not formally introduced to reading or writing until age seven. She said that rather than negatively affecting their development, it helped them get to know the world.
“Internationally, [the educator’s role is to] introduce some formal learning but also to value play and discovery with young children who are trying to understand the world around them,” she said. “We need to help them to discover for themselves.”
By Lauren Holdcroft
[Image via flickr]