Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Brunei Town

Call to rethink kindergarten curriculum

As a parent, I’ve noticed a troubling trend in my daughter’s kindergarten experience. Despite just starting preschool this year, she’s learning materials meant for older grades. This fast-paced curriculum raises concerns on whether they are right for her age.

A few years ago, my older son attended a different kindergarten school and his experience was vastly different. His first year was a mix of fun learning, basic reading, phonics and counting skills, along with lots of time for playing and being creative. Now my daughter’s kindergarten at a nearby private school in Kampong Jerudong seems focused mainly on advanced academics.

At first, this might seem good because it aims to prepare kids better for future school challenges. However, it may not consider what young children really need. Kindergarten should be a time for children to enjoy learning through activities that balance school work and play.

Pushing young kids to meet high academic standards can cause problems. It can make children feel stressed and anxious about things they aren’t ready to understand. My daughter often feels overwhelmed and frustrated by her homework. (And I don’t understand the need to hand out homework at this stage).

Such a focus on academics can also take away from other important areas of development. Kindergarten is crucial for social and emotional growth. Children learn to make friends, manage their emotions and develop essential life skills through play. When playtime is reduced because of too much school work, we create an unbalanced experience.

Plenty of research studies show that play-based learning is very important for young children. Play helps them to develop creativity, problem-solving skills and flexibility in thinking – skills they will need throughout their lives. If we focus too much on academics too early, we might harm these important development processes.

Another major concern is that the kindergarten curriculum in Brunei does not follow any specific guidelines from the authorities, or so I’ve been told. This lack of standardisation can lead to inconsistent educational experiences for our children. If we could have a representative from the authorities to address this issue, it would provide much-needed clarity, and potentially drive positive changes in our approach to early childhood education.

We need to rethink our approach. The kindergarten curriculum should factor in the development stages of young children. It means creating a learning environment that is fun and encourages discovery, balancing school work with plenty of play and social time.

As parents and educators, we must ask ourselves if our current methods are really in the best interest of the children. Are we helping them succeed in the future? Or are we pushing them too hard, too soon?

Mother Of D, A & A

PHOTO: ENVATO
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