They start early

Our three year old goes to a Chinese kindergarten. What does he do there besides play, have snack time, sing songs, and take potty breaks? From the small smattering of materials he comes home with and short glimpses in the classroom, it seems he does considerably more. Botany lessons from growing seeds, counting exercises, socialization lessons from videos telling you not to bully other kids, and consistent partnering with ‘older brother’ from the higher class level (without siblings at home, you make do as best you can).

Doubtless there’s a lot more than even this. What’s great is Leo really enjoys it. We got him into a pretty selective kindergarten here in town. And let us tell you, if your three year old isn’t in a selective kindergarten, *tsk-tsk*, good luck with his entire future.

The funny thing today, though, is the flyer that came home from school with him. Chinese New Year affords a whole three weeks vacation for the students in January. A nice break, right? No! Wasted time! They’re offering a ‘winter school’ program for nine days of that vacation, for an additional fee.

This is classic Chinese educational culture. There’s very little in the way of free, unstructured time. If your kids aren’t busy with extra classes after school or on the weekends, you run the danger of falling behind. Good luck competing with all those other motivated students (i.e.- parents). China’s economy may be faring well, but the job market is just as fierce here as anywhere else in the world right now. Three years old is not too soon to start grooming for the realities of life ahead, in other words.

So will we send Leo to winter school? Umm.. probably not!

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1 Response to “They start early”


  1. 1 Mom Falk December 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    One more budding genius condemned to an ordinary life because of having unfortunate luck —–two parents who simply do not understand the people-making requirements involved in producing good little citizens for country and cause. Poor Leo—–will grow up with family values, moral standards, love of neighbor, and the ability to develop and treasure independent thinking—-where will he fit in ? I ask you—–


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