Like any other parent who is gearing up for sending his / her child out to play group or a pre-school for the first time, I also get nervous thinking about this. Apart from WHICH SCHOOL or PLAY to select for the child, a major query remains WHEN TO PUT THE CHILD! What exactly is the correct age for our kid to join a play group or a pre-school.
I saw a TV Program on the same that was trying to address the issues / loopholes that our Indian Education System has and it inspired me to write about this. But here, on my post, I do not want to sound politically correct or incorrect, rather my concerns are plainly and completely as a parent of a toddler.
My son is 21 months old and like other children of his generation, excellent in outsmarting us too. But, does that learning or high catching ability makes him eligible for an environment which is out of the comfort zone of his cozy home and his mother! I will comment on this later in the post.
A lot of my friends who have children of similar ages are also concerned about the “correct age” of putting their kids in a school environment may be because nobody wants their child to be left behind in this HIGHLY COMPETITIVE world!
Well, before I talk about the age factor, I have a few things to say about the so called COMPETITION today. Why is there so much fuss about it? Isn’t it that we had also faced competition in our times, the 80’s or the 90’s? Yes indeed it was there, but the only difference was that it helped in our development as it was healthy. As we advanced, our expectations shot up and we are the ones who converted this HEALTHY COMPETITION to a CUT – THROAT COMPETITION today! And now we are transferring the burden of being highly competitive to our own little children without realizing the outcomes.
A child is a child, no matter the times!
Be it 80’s or 2000’s, a child is the same in thinking, learning, eating, and behaving! Just because he /s he learns according to the surroundings, does not makes eligible to be pushed to grow up fast. We learnt according to our surroundings and exposure to stuff and technology and these children today are doing the same. Working on laptops and mobiles is a big thing for us because we learnt them later in life but for these children today, it is like learning with their surroundings hence not a very big deal.
Coming back to the point of age, I personally feel that a child must be mentally as well as physically ready to be out of the comforts of home. I see most of the parents eagerly searching the best play or pre – schools for their children because they are soon turning three or are already three! But seriously, Three!!! even when the proper school education starts at six!!
Do we really feel this age is strong enough to handle the pressure of learning books, poems, tables etc. and also be safe in today’s not so safe environment? I hope you must be understanding what I mean from my safety point!
Why do we have to push our children to be a part of the rat race at such a fragile age where they can’t even walk properly! Why can’t we let them grow up at their own pace and give them a sound and learning environment at home? It is not that tough. Mothers are said to be the first teachers, then lets be one! Our role does not concludes on Sleep Training, Potty Training or Eating Training; it is much more than that. Rather than just pushing our kid towards only reading books and learning ABCD, Animal Names, 1234 and what not, why not give them basic life learning of Right & Wrong, Good & Bad, Love & Help, Value of Relations, Friends, Trust, Taking them out to meet new people and make new friends and just play and grow up slowly.
As a mother, I also want my child to be a learned child and an all-rounder but without any strings attached or any pressure on him. And moreover, every parent knows the capacity and capability of their child and should act accordingly but should not be putting an invisible burden over their little and fragile shoulders which are supposed to be carefree, at least in this age. Provide them a healthy and educative smart environment at home for their overall development and for this, both the father and the mother have to take part in.
We really need to re-think on our ways that make us blindly follow the rat race going on and make our children over burdened.
It is not that the concept of play or pre-school is bad, but we have to choose what is best for our child and when. Let us take the charge of our child’s future and not let the competition be the decision maker.