It was then that I shared with them about my wife and my stand that we would only send our daughter to kindergarten at the age of 5. Our daughter shall have 2 years of kindergarten education prior to entering primary school. This is not the first time we have shared our stand. In fact, many friends have asked "Is your daughter in kindy already?". My elder daughter has just turned 3 years old last July.
"Why do you only want to send your daughter to kindergarten at the age of 5?" Many ask that question. Some sounding alarmed. Well, I usually reply saying "She goes to Sunday School and her grandpa teaches her at home on simple ABC books etc.". The usual reply we get is "But then, she may be left behind and unable to catch up when she gets to kindergarten at 5 or even at primary school. The syllabuses nowadays are different and tough".
We have read some expert's (child experts) views that children below the age of 5 are too young to be exposed to formal education, what more to say, tuition. A report showed that by the age of 3, 85% of the child's core brain structure has formed. By 5 years old, 90% of the child's core brain structure has formed. So, between 3 to 5 years old, there is only an increase of 5%. Why the hurry?
By the time the child starts "formal" education at 5 years old in the kindergarten, the child will have many more years of education ahead till, hopefully graduation from the university. Isn't there enough number of years for the child to "catch-up"? Or should we subject the child to various classes in the hope that the child will reach the standard expected of us? I really pity the children when I see them feeling tired and bored from attending classes after classes. Be it language classes, piano lessons, ballet or general tuition for all subjects. It is not uncommon to hear of pre-schoolers having do to homework till late a night.
Anyway, what is the whole point of ensuring that a child gets the maximum equipping with formal education plus skills such as playing a musical instrument or speaking an additional language? Is it to groom the child so that the child will serve society with the knowledge or skills acquired? Or is it to ensure that the child has a good future? If it is the latter, what would the definition of good be? To be able to earn more money? Climb the social ladder? Or could it be that it is our desire that our child be better than others in terms of knowledge and skills? A prideful ambition? Or perhaps, unknowingly, we are cultivating a habit of "keeping up with the Joneses" or "kiasu" syndrome in our child of tender age. We do not deny that education and skills are important. But they are not the most important.
I must admit that it can be a struggle for me to wrestle with the question of "Am I making the right decision for my daughters to only send them to kindergarten at 5 years old or am I being stubborn and old-fashioned?" I am human after all. And I continue to ask for God's direction and will on this matter.
Our wish for our daughters is that they will know why they were created in the first place. That they will know their Creator, our Father in Heaven, and be able to live a life to glorify Him. Central to that would be to teach them to love others, be joyful, have peace, be patient, having goodness, persevere, being faithful and having self-control as guided by the Holy Spirit. Those are qualities which we pray that our daughters would have and it is good to start young.