Monday, May 20, 2013

Early(-er) Childhood Education

I watched the Biography Channel on TV last night about Early Childhood Education (ECE). They showed the activities of some pre-schools, and how they take it very seriously (sometimes too seriously). Then I realized that this trend on ECE is an international issue.

When you browse about this stuff, it would be easier to find the business-related websites rather than education-related websites that might possibly help you to understand what the issue is about, how to do it, and other guidance. No one would deny how important those domains of childhood development : physical, social, emotional, language, cognitive during childhood, but less and less people tell you that it's possible to be done at home, rather than spending so much money just to have someone to do it on behalf of the parents.

It's so amazing how people would spend so much for this 'newfound' need -- I believe they usually do it later in childhood a decade ago. In Jakarta, many pre-schools are even more expensive than universities. Funny how they make Jean Piaget sounds very commercial. It's definitely not easy to find an affordable pre-schools around. Not surprising yet disappointing fact.

Why is it not surprising that it's so expensive? I believe back there it's those businessmen who have sharpen this need. They could see the importance of this education, as the additional before the primary school -- even before kindergarten. I also believe the reason why they're so expensive is because it was segmented to high socio-economy class families, who have more budgets for tertiary needs. It is an important education indeed, that in short the trend has became a new standard of formal education. That new standard that means another thing to put on the household budget. Not an easy thing for middle-class families to catch up (as the Biography Channel said). That's the disappointing fact, while they're the one who need 'help' on developing their children skills, since usually both of those couples work hard during the day.

There's also an interesting fact how (many of) wealthy moms prefer somebody else taking care of their children, while they actually have all the time and the energy to do it by themselves. I've been witnessing this on every school trip (to the zoo, to the swimming pool, etc.). It's so sad. It's seemed that they don't have the need to be physically connected to the children. They let the nannies changing their clothes, guiding them while playing, taking care of them when the fall, feeding them, while they were just sitting there, getting busy with their phones. The best thing they do were giving instructions to their children things through their words.

Yes, I also put my baby on pre-school. Nothing more than expecting new social experiences (she's the only child around) and, yes, for speeding up her competencies for the sake of competition on her next level of education. It used to be only Kindergarten, but now also Pre-Schools such as Kiddy Class, and even Toddler class. Can't say that it's an easy-money, just like other middle-class families, but this new standard of child education really pushes us to do our best.

So, people, when you do have money and do care about ECE, please do also think about how to help those middle-class (and also the low ones) children. As it's said, early childhood education is one of the best investments our country can make.


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