I’m the kind of parent who believes that a child will accomplished certain things at certain ages. Like reading or counting. While encouragement is necessary, pushing her to learn things beyond her current limit, to me, is unfair. Sure, a child’s mind is a like a sponge. She’ll probably absorbs and memorizes things way better and faster than adults. She might be able to read at 3 years old while others still learn how to say the word “Mom”. But that doesn’t mean that she likes it. If she was an adult, she would probably scream “Hey, Mom! I’m stressed! I don’t want to learn how to read yet!”
And my question would be “Is it really necessary?”
I personally love to read to my daughter. I’ve been reading children stories to her since she was still in the womb. It is one of my ideas of spending quality time with her. Now that she’s 4 years old, reading together becomes even more fun. I love the moments where she asks funny questions about the pictures she’s seeing in the book. Or when she changes the characters’ names to her own name and the people she knows. Sometimes she would skips a few pages and makes up stories by herself.
So I hope you can understand my frustration below.
My daughter lives in this sad era where people/schools expect her to be able to read and count at the tender age of 4. When she was in preschool, she had to learn the alphabets, numbers AND expected to learn the (english) phonics by heart. She also had to be able to trace letters and numbers without any help. Not only that, her school expected her to color INSIDE the lines. Perfectly. Oh, have I told you that she was only 3 then?
Now, my daughter has a free spirit. She’s kinda like...her parents :D “Rules” like those certainly didn’t suit her personality. I was lucky enough to be there at her side every day to notice that she wasn’t happy with her school. That she was stressed. What was the signs? Well, small things, really. But if you paid more attention to them, you’d know. Like how she often cried during showers in the morning because she didn’t want to go. Or how she would rarely tell me stories about her day at school. Sure, she had her share of fun there. But most of time she just wanted to be out of the school with me. Either going straight home or anywhere else but there. I started to think to look for other schools. One school in particular. I went there and her name was unfortunately on the long waiting list. I kept looking while in the mean time tried to keep my daughter interested in her current school. I often asked about her friends, sung the songs she learned at school loudly at home like a crazy mother and patiently asked her to practice her writings. But I immediately let her play with her pet as soon as I saw a single tear on her eye. I also “taught” her some letters while she was pooping. You’d be surprise by the many letters you could find in the bathroom :p I also taught Kukka how to count 1-10 by counting the steps outloud whenever we found some stairs.
And that fateful day came a couple of days before the school holiday. I got a call from Sekolah Cikal. They told me Kukka got a slot there if we were still interested. Long story short, here we are :)
I’m not saying that Sekolah Cikal is the best school. But it seems to be the right one for my baby girl right now. Kukka is happier, smarter and always excitedly telling me stories about her friends and even her teachers. She proudly shows me how to write and spell her name all by herself and she already can recites 4 ayahs of Al Fatihah almost by heart. Her Bahasa Indonesia is also improving in a quite impressive pace :D She shows off her drawings to me every day and in her eyes I can see how much she wants to make me proud of her colorful swirls, which of course are OUTSIDE the lines :) I always tell her and show her how proud I am of her. And sometimes she would ask me first "You're proud of me, Bubu?" :))
Now I'm happy to say that my Little Godsend is happy at school. And do you know what makes my heart burst with joy? Knowing that she’s doing and learning all those things not because she has to. But because she wants to.
"I wike Cikaw. I have fun." - Kukka Aiko, 4 yo