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The Need for Balance in Childhood Education in Singapore & Asia
by: Mike Lim 

“Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it” 
Sir William Haley 

What is considered a good education for my child (and your child, for that matter)? 

Before I can answer this, I think it is important that I first relate what education truly means to me. 

Education, I believe is the whole learning process of not only acquiring knowledge but, more importantly for a person to discover more about ourselves as well as the world which we are living in. Thus, it is not so much about learning specific subject content such as Mathematics, Science, English or Moral Education per se but how we can apply this knowledge wisely in our daily lives. More importantly, good education also probes and analyses the process of learning that is unique in every one of us, (including your precious Child). 

Ponder over this quote: 

”The world does not pay for what a person knows. But it pays for what a person does with what he knows” 
Laurence Lee 

Being a father, the question beckons-what kind of education do I want for my child? 

In all honesty, I want an education which allows my child the freedom to discover, explore and experience this world in her own eyes and to form her own view of it. It has to be an enriching and challenging learning adventure. I also hope that she learns the importance of discipline and enjoys the wonders of Nature in her learning process. Most importantly, it must be able to nurture the positive attitudes in her to be strong, resilient, determined, willing to take on challenges but yet be peace-loving and graceful in the way she treats everyone. 

However, I felt that most education system today fail in the task that they are designed to do-to nurture a Balanced Child. There is really nothing wrong with having workbooks, assessment papers, enrichment classes and etc. But are we doing too much of a good thing and destroying our child’s present and future in the process? That’s the crux of the predicament that most children in Singapore, Hong Kong (and Asia in general) are facing. We, as parents, have robbed their childhood! 

Whatever happened to good ol’ common sense? Where is the BALANCE in the whole scheme of things? I am not against the idea of sending my daughter for enrichment classes when she gets older, but I will definitely ensure that she enjoys the whole learning process. Needless to say, I want my child to have ample time for fun, play and most of all, family! 

Reflect upon this: 

“Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush; anxious for greater developments and greater wishes and so on; so that children have very little time for their parents; Parents have very little time for each other; and the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.” 
Mother Teresa 

Parents, let’s not be extremists in the things we do for our children. I understand your worries and concerns but we need to seek BALANCE in all things we do. Think about the criminal trials of Michael Jackson and his lamentations of having his childhood robbed. The last thing I want to hear from my daughter when she grows up is that I have robbed her Childhood unknowingly. And unfortunately, I cannot give her Childhood back to her. 
Reflect upon this. 

So, dear Parents, don’t be too hard on your self. Let’s take stock of what we are doing for our Child and refine the rough edges. At the end of the day, the best education for your Child starts with having Great parents like YOU around them. 

"If you plan for one year, plant rice. If you plan for 10 years, plant a tree. If you plan for 100 years, educate a child." 
Chinese proverb 

About The Author : 
Mike Lim is the Managing Director for Tumble Tots (Singapore and Asia-Pacific). A believer of A Balanced Child philosophy, he hopes to inject balance and wisdom in Tumble Tots’ variety of preschool educational programmes. 



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