Introducing The Next Generation Of Leaders And Thinkers

Pressure On Kindergartners: Let Them Learn

On a Friday morning, as I checked my notifications before proceeding with a jam packed schedule of classes for the day, my teacher sent me an article on researches that demonstrates 5 year-olds are demonstrating teacher led activities much more than play based activities, and some of them only gets a mere 15-day break at the end of the school day. It was shocking for me since I can’t remember much on what I did when I was in kindergarten except for fond childhood memories, and this is what I have to share.

Let me tell you a story. I was diagnosed with a slight hyperactivity since I was a toddler. ‘Slight’ may sound petty to hear, and I wasn’t prescribed with any tranquilizers to calm me down, but boy, as described by my mother, and summarized by my own simpler words, it was hell. I threw horrible fits whenever I was stopped from doing what I was doing at the moment.

This chain of ballistic behavior continued to occur until I entered kindergarten. I didn’t want to sit down and learn in the classroom like anyone else. I was more amused with the illustrious paintings on the wall and riddle storybooks outside, and of course, the legendary plastic slide. I just wanted to play, and I never mind playing alone. I was sent to the principal’s office a few times during the first week in order to give me a time out but I never quit. She was an Indian. When she instructed me to stand straight like a soldier for a few minutes, I suppose, but as soon as she walked out of the office, I started playing with the flower garlands that was hanging at the door that was meant for blessings.

The kindergarten administration didn’t know what to do of me after dealing with the same situation for a week or two, and all I remembered was that I was dragged from the playground to an empty classroom, wait, no. It was not crowded as the class next door. They sat me down on a chair and I threw my tantrums all over the place, but then, I saw two boys stared at me like I was an alien at the end of the corner. I didn’t know what charm did they use but I eventually stopped crying as the teacher that was supervising us introduced me to them. Naresh and Sanjay. They were a year older than me, and I was not sure whether they were the only six year olds who attended the evening session, or they were just like me. They were the first two people that taught me what friendship was like.

So, there was us, two boys and a boyish girl, learning alongside each other in a classroom for the whole year. I managed to calm myself down and focused in class. It was no pressure at all and we looked forward to the star stickers to be sticked on the pages of our reading books. Hey, who doesn’t remember Peter and Jane, right? All in all, it was three of us against the world, and we succeeded the year with flying colours, and we even got a chance to perform for the kindergarten’s yearly graduation day, but as the graduation day approached, my only two friends will graduate and leave me as well.

On graduation day, we performed a traditional dance, mixing both Chinese and Indian ethnic dances together. I was a Malay, but my Chinese features allowed me to wear a Cheongsam, while Naresh and Sanjay wore kurtas. At the end of the performance, we held hands, bowed down and had a long group hug on stage, ignoring the audience. I didn’t know what separation meant at that time so I didn’t shed a tear, but watching the video of the performance on tape always made my heart ache.

The next year, I entered the usual classroom, mixed around happily with other students and my grades remained high. I became normal, I guess, or that was what people thought of me. Let’s be honest, I wouldn’t have made it without Naresh and Sanjay. We were 2005’s Three Idiots, and maybe if the school didn’t decide to shift me out of the usual classroom and into the classroom where I met them, I would still have attitude problems until today. Well, the traits of it were still with me, as observed and explained by my best friend who is surrounded by people who has different abilities, but it may become worse, or it may lead to other disorders, we never know. Safe enough to say that I was more than grateful.

I hope that my childhood has given enough proof that early education is the most crucial time to develop a person’s personality. Decisions that are made for a child at this phase is important to determine his or her future. Despite all the difficulties that my parents and teachers had gone through to handle me and the time outs that I had, I was never pressured to do the things that I don’t like, instead, they were finding ways to encourage me to do what I should do, and that included reverse psychology. That was why I was very upset that kids these days were pressured at such a tender age with the teaching methods similar to schoolchildren when at this age, they understand better when they learn using their five major senses holistically. Please, give our kids a break.

Wrapping up, as I said in all of my previous articles, we had a stepping stone but we are still not there yet. There’s a lot that can be improved from multiple sides ; parents, teacher, the education system itself. They are our future after all, aren’t they? Let them learn and find their way.

Somehow, experiences and journeys always make us learn something new unexpectedly, and it is the same for them. Their innocence that made the lessons alive and do wonders, and one day, they will do wonders to this world too.

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