It’s scary to see the crowds of parents waiting outside Berries or Tien Hsia or Mindchamps on weekends in the malls. And it’s even scarier when the kids come out and you realised that they are only 6/ 7 year olds!?
It’s becoming a national hobby for Singapore families to send their kids for enrichment classes at a young age. Traditionally, we have tuition classes for the students who cannot cope with school work from school. In today’s times, tuition classes are the norm; students go for tuition classes whether or not they are able to cope with school work. Tuition classes become the CCA, the core curricula alongside with the school’s teachings. And enrichment classes are becoming the necessary necessities if you want to up the ante.
There’s enrichment classes for English, Chinese, Math, Science, creative thinking, speech and presentations, money management, etc etc, and we are talking about classes for pre-schoolers. Pre-schoolers, mind you! 5, 6 year olds who unknowingly “learn” while “playing” in these lessons. And of course, for every enrichment lesson, time is spent and money $$$$ is spent just so for the kid to learn more things in a structured, fail-proof environment.
I’m glad that at home, Baby1 and Baby2 are exposed to a bit of all these “enrichment programs” through our daily interactions and free play. The National Library is a good source of knowledge and information so we get a bit of English, Chinese, Math, Science, Money Management etc enrichment through our nightly bedtime stories. And with not-many toys at home to play with, leaving the kids to play with whatever household items they can lay their hands on, creative thinking and speech and presentations are involved. So I really am not too sure why parents will still send their kids to such costly (time and money) enrichment classes?
So far for this past year, I have been coaching Baby1 in her school work. I’m not really in line with how the teachers conduct their teachings, and very often I merely supplement the curricula with my own style. I get Baby1 to explain to me why she does her work in that manner, and she’ll tell me “teacher say blah blah blah, blah blah blah”. Tada, coaching is done! I’m glad that Baby1 is attentive in class and is eager to learn. And when these pay off in her high scores in tests and assessments, her confidence gets an even bigger boast and she continues to find joy and fun in learning.
So yeah, I am their tuition teacher, yet I am not a tuition teacher. I supplement their quest for learning by sharing with them my knowledge, experiences and values, and I supplement their joy of learning by making learning fun and “invisible”.
As Baby1 and Baby2 grow older day by day, I hope that I can continue to nurture and guide them in their learning journey, in a cool and calm manner (exams are over now so it might be easy to say that now; wait till we enter the academic year again!!!). For now, I need to continuously “upgrade” myself so as to better fulfill this role. Gambatte Mummy!