Kicked out of Kindergarten?

Leo came home with his Ayi one morning, happily spouting 21 month old nonsensical jargon (which everyone here assumes is English) as usual. Cheng Ayi, however, had a less carefree attitude about her. She had begun in recent months to bring Leo to a local kindergarten to play with the children on their recess. They happen to have a nice playground with slides and swings and jungle gyms (a hard thing to find here), which Leo loves. I had always heard fun stories of their time at the kindergarten, but today was the last day Leo would play there.

Cheng Ayi sheepishly told me that Leo had been asked not to come back. I was slightly dumbfounded, wondering what naughty thing my 21 month old could have done to get kicked out of kindergarten. She explained that Leo was simply "too intense" for the teachers and administrators. I asked what that meant. She told me that Leo was able to climb around the jungle gym and slide down the slides all by himself, and this was very unusual for such a little boy in China. The teachers all were too nervous to continue allowing him to play there. They were also incredulous that such a little boy was able to do these things by himself already.

I had to agree that Leo is unusual for his age here in China. Most children his age are always in the hand of a parent, and have little opportunity to walk or run by themselves. I have been surprised how many times random strangers have come up to me to tell me my son is in mortal danger because he is climbing a set of stairs without my direct help (or touching something on the ground, or jumping up and down, etc). As an American, I tend to encourage Leo to explore and do his own thing while playing, and offer much less overt direction. Of course Chinese children learn to do things on their own too (and very well, I might add!), but on a different timetable, and with differing customs.

Well, Ayi and I were sad that Leo got kicked out of kindergarten, but we both admitted that we harbored some pride at this ‘distinction’!

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3 Responses to “Kicked out of Kindergarten?”


  1. 1 Rachael June 13, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    he is just smart like his mommy and daddy!! way to go Leo!!!

  2. 2 Julie June 16, 2009 at 2:35 am

    Yes, I must agree with Rachael, and, well, Leo is a MULLER after all…. 🙂

  3. 3 Becca July 1, 2009 at 3:55 am

    I am so disappointed that your son is so advanced. What kind of parents are you!?! I mean seriously, you’d think his mother climed roofs and balconies! ;o) (read: Couldn’t be prouder!)


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