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Missed a call on my mobile and home phone this morning, only to have Donald send me a text saying, “Answer phone. Kindergarten called“.

That was enough to send me in a mini frenzy. See, Donald & I (more me actually) made the decision that we would send Ollie to pre-nursery when he turned three. Those 3-hr sessions would give me a break from having to deal with two kids and also to give Quentin one-on-one time with me. I wasn’t into this whole branded, reputable pre-school she-bang. A pre-school that covered phonics, music & drama, was an all rounder, did more than just academics..etc. Nope. None of that. All I wanted was a pre-school near me. I figured what I would make up the shortfall in what I felt was lacking in Ollie’s childhood.

Donald & I had one of those pre-Quentin late night chats about education for our kids. Education is a huge thing in Singapore. You have Special Assistance Plan (SAP) schools, neighbourhood schools, Autonomous schools. Schools that were part of a clan, missionary schools. It was that complicated. The choice could very well determine the level of stress, pressure your child could be exposed.

How would we want our kids to educated?

We were considering two choices (yes, we were already discussing about primary school education for Ollie): my primary school, which is a SAP & clan school (enrolment based on old girl/old boy) vs neighbourhood school (location based). How each of this choices could best allow Ollie to grow in his own strength, at his own pace. How the type of people he mixed with would help him through his journey (yes, it would get to that point, type of people). How the environment/stereotype might affect the teaching. The discussion was probably a little extreme, hahah, a lot of overthinking involved. Things could very well change in 4-5 yrs time.

In Singapore, there is a lot of competition and parents are pressured to pile their kids with enrichment classes so they are ahead of the curriculum. Kiasuism is the key word here. Speech & drama classes, art classes, music classes, tuition to make sure you have caught up in class. Tuition to make sure you are the top of the class. Tuition if you are at the bottom of the class.

Donald & I don’t want any of that. We hoped that Ollie would be the kinda kid that would try his best, and we would be the kind of parents that would be okay with any result and help him the best that we can if he is struggling. Not with more tuition but in a manner where he can learn in his own way.

A friend recently mentioned that I would be kiasu when the time comes. I begged to differ. I do not see the need to compare Ollie nor compete with other kids to be the creme de la creme. Of course, as a parent, I would want to see my child excel in life. But if he is going to need to pay a price to excel, I rather he be poor but rich in life experiences. I’m sure Ollie will do fine with the basics. I am a kancheong mother (how he will survive in the school environment, how he will cope, what is my role..etc). Not a kiasu mother. It would be interesting to see how things would pan out considering Ollie was born in a year where there will be high competition due to massive number of Dragon babies.

Donald did ask what if Ollie said he did not want to continue his education after high school and go be a musician? It was a tough call. I haven’t arrived at an answer that I was comfortable with. I faced the same issue with my mom when I said I wanted to study Fine Arts instead of studying Accountancy or Business Studies. Fine Arts did not fit the norm and she was against it. I know how I felt then and I would want to be a supportive parent to Ollie. Be a musician? Sure. But quit at high school? Hmmmm.

Good grief, I need to get a grip on the overthinking. He is only attending pre-nursery for pete’s sake.

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