what have we done? what have we done to our children stressing them, pressuring them at a young age when they should be doing what they are: being kids? or is it our generation’s subtle way of enslaving them, of taking their right we have tirelessly worked for the last 25 years for them to live freely and creatively?
or maybe i wasn’t or haven’t been able to cope with the changes to understand why we would introduce lengthy and tedious rote learning and take away the very basic of educational foundation: learning by doing? where did the playhouse inside the classroom go? what happened to that wee house that we looked forward to in school, where we learned the basics of mathematics (remember those small, smaller and smallest pans or tall, taller and tallest glass), of science (where we had real plants to take care of to understand that it needs soil, water, sunlight and air to grow otherwise it will die), of language (where we actually interacted with our classmates instead of interacting with tablets), of good manners (where we learned to be patient for the dish to be passed onto us and say ‘please’ when we pretended to sit on the dining table and have meals)?
or am i uncool for this generation that i see pre-schoolers dragging school luggage which was originally meant to make physical life easier for them rather than mental and psychological torture because it’s filled with books of every kind that they have to keep up and store in their brains? that from the moment they enter school, they sit on their chairs and are called upon when they aren’t still enough to fall under ‘behave’? what happened to taking plates and cutlery during break time, and sharing and interacting with mates? or queuing up to wash your hands or keeping the things you used after snack time? where did the mats go and what happened to nap time?
or am i naive to undermine the capacity of three-four-year old kids to absorb complex questions such as “whys” instead of simplifying it to “what do you think”?
or am i too old fashioned to let children rest after school and let them simply play and explore their imagination rather than filling their young lives with tutorial after tutorial of music lessons or sports clinic? or maybe my parents didn’t make enough money when i was growing up that the only extra curricular activities i knew were to turn plastic talc powder bottles into cars or pull out leaves from mama’s garden and pretend my playmates and i went to the market and bought food supplies so we can cook the most exotic dish and offer it to our “guests.”
the funny and sad thing, to access the education i know about (think of holistic and humanistic education like waldorf approach) is more expensive than the available ones in government-aided schools. it’s scary to think we’re losing out of touch of our human-ness in our educational systems. and maybe, just maybe, we ought to re-visit our curriculum and re-think. after all, we’re raising and training humans, not robots. just saying.
photo credit: king features syndicate