Monday, July 15, 2013

Mama School

A few months ago, two mothers I met at Gymboree on separate occasions were surprised to learn of my intention to keep O from school till at least 2015. One was French and another a Singaporean. Both intended to enroll their daughters next year in premium preschools to ensure their girls are not deprived of a well-deserved early childhood education.

I swear one of them gave me a dirty look at some point of our chat, as if I must be some ignorant first-time mother who does not know what to do with my kid. Ok, I did not let on (as I didn't see it as necessary) that I have more mothering experience than she had and I do know a lot more about early childhood education than she probably thought.

Frankly, I could not decide if I was more annoyed or amused by that. Perhaps it was a case of both. In times like this, the condescending part of me that always emerges when I meet fellow parents like her, just had to observe her with her child for a few moments longer than I usually would. I did. Hah. I was very careful not to show my smirk afterwards.

I would have preferred to delay O's formal schooling till 2016, if not for the fact that it will be M's PSLE year. That will be the year she starts Kindergarten 1 (also known as K1) in a typical preschool. But I know I should be prudent and enrol her a few months before that, so that she has adjustment time and I can take a breather to recharge my battery.

Between now and then, we have two years where she will attend only 'Mama School'. 

It is time to organize my resources and introduce some structured learning. The 22 months old is ready for what I have in mind. I am the one who is dragging my feet. 

A few years ago, this routine served us well and I did have many productive days with little Chip in our 'Mama School'. But this will be tweaked to incorporate what experience has taught me.

Most concepts can be much more effectively introduced using the transdisciplinary thematic approach, through the lapbooking activities I have created and accumulated over the years of teaching, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

Even at this tender age, it is easy to spot O's strengths and apparent weaknesses. She seems to have a combination of her brothers' strengths (and they are good at different areas). So fascinating! Just the thought of it gets my adrenalin pumping.

What excites me is not just to play a big role in her learning journey especially in these early years, but to see what we can achieve and where we will get to, in terms of stretching her potential, by the end of the next two years. We were extremely delighted with the boys' development at age 4, so there is every reason to be confident that we will be with O as well.

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