Kindergarten Boarding School

I’m not kidding. According to BBC News the newest trend for middle-class families is to send their kindergartners to boarding schools and some programs accept children as young as two for their programs. Seems very Brave New World to me somehow, particularly when the principal of the school explains “the boarding experience fostered abilities in the children which day attendance was not necessarily able to do.”

He continues: “The boarders are more street-wise and more independent.”

What I wonder about is why being street-wise is so important for a two year old, particularly of the growing middle class in China. But more importantly than that, this seems to be about the least attachment parenting-oriented approach I can imagine.

Why is this basic concept so hard for parents to remember: Children need parents. They need supervision and they need role models, but most of all they need love, attention and nurturing.

China is a country that has always paid great attention to agriculture, indeed, that was one of the cornerstones of the Communist Revolution and Chairman Mao’s initial improvements to the nation, yet I’m sure there isn’t one farmer in China who would plant a field then leave it fallow hoping that the crops would grow well and be ready to harvest at the end of the season. So it’s a mystery why some modern Chinese seem to think they can do just that with their children.

Or perhaps it isn’t a mystery, and perhaps it’s more of the pernicious global plague of “emulating the West” without picking and choosing the best of what we have without being sucked into the worst too.

Here’s a scary quote from a 42-year old engineer and parent of a child at the school, something to make you wonder about the mainstream philosophy of parenting in China:

As he arrived to pick up his son Zhengyuan, Mr Chen explained that although his wife did not work outside their home, the couple decided to board Zhengyuan at the kindergarten so he could “become more lively and fun”.

China is definitely becoming more “modern” too; one of the teachers at the school lists parents being too busy working and that there are more and more divorced parents as the
two primary reasons for parents opting to board their kindergartners/

One more reason for these schools is only mentioned in passing; the vast majority of kids in China are now only children because of the draconian birth control policies in place. But then again… there are plenty of only children here in the United States who do remarkably well in a regular kindergarten (or even home kindergarten) with other children and a warm, loving home environment when they’re not in school.

What do you think? Are you ready to send your 2-7 year old child to a boarding kindergarten school? I’m sure not.

33 comments on “Kindergarten Boarding School

  1. Wow – thats just incredible. I am so saddened to read that stuff. There are some marvellous and wonderful things in this world of ours, but my GOD some people have really lost the plot havn’t they???!?! Bought into this whole competitive thing hook line and sinker. Why do some people bother to have children? Really, they should just buy a cat and be done with it.
    Seriously though, all attachment parenting & childhood development voices around the world need to join up and shout from the rooftops the terrible harm that these kinds of institutions bring into the world, and educate parents as to how to truley love their children – because sending them to somewhere like this is extremely misguided, and motivated by fear.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. I can appreciate the loving place from which parents want to have their children have the best possible life, and all possible advantages in the “race” of life, but I do think that somewhere along the way the *love* part of loving gets lost…

  3. I truly hope that China will soon realize what damage their incredible focus on development and money will cause to the family. I just ran into a Chinese minority family (I live here in China) today–more acurately, I met their three year old little girl–who left the village to seek work in the big city as soon as she was weened.
    She now lives with her grandparents. And though I very much like China’s involvement of grandparents in the raising of children, it is definitely taking a good thing too far for the parents to completely pull out of the raising of the child.

  4. I suppose this idea isn’t so strange for China: as a culture during the past 60 years they have so devalued children that the current generation, which is a product of that culture, who are now in charge of the country, business, education, etc, value children as nothing more than a resource.
    Mitchell A. Cohn, D.O.
    Author of Commons Sense Parenting and The Parenting Weblog at http://www.parenting-weblog.com

  5. What makes a kindergarten program a dynamic one is that there is a community of learning that involves both the parents and the classroom. To opt out of parenting leaves a gap that can not be filled with any program. Look at the successful Head
    Start program that was founded to try and play catch up with children whose parents had not provided some much needed readiness experiences. What can they be thinking in China?

  6. I can’t believe anyone would even consider something like that. I have 4 BOYS ranging in ages from 7 months to 6 years old. They’re a handfull most of the time(23 out of 24 hours a day) but I’d never even consider it. Who would tuck them in at night, who would read them bedtime stories, who would give them hugs & kisses just because!!! It really don’t seem right to me. I want a loveable, mommas boy than a “street wise” 5 year old.
    Angel
    mother of 4

  7. I have been doing research in Chinese preschools/kindergartens for over 15 years. Although, yes, there are some boarding preschools (as far as I know, all private), the huge majority of preschools support good practice, and children are only there during the day. Much of the practice in these schools might be considered too traditional from a Western perspective, with 10-minute drawing lessons starting at age 3 and math lessons, etc. But in the urban parts of China, the preschools are shifting toward more self-discovery type lessons and I am constantly asked to suggest ways to make curriculum more creative. In all preschools that I’ve visited (hundreds!) there have always been large blocks of time for children to play with blocks, to select independent activities such as puzzles, drawing, and Legos, and to play on various types of playground equipment. As for parents caring about their children, I see loving and concerned children everywhere in China, in big cities, small cities, villages. The chatter and interaction among parents and children abounds at the end of the day when they pick up their children and walk with them back home, put them in their secure bicycle seats for their ride back home, or (a new development) have them climb into the family car. Conversations are as full of enthusiasm and love and concern as I’ve witnessed anywhere.

  8. I have a friend whose two daughters had both been to private boarding school. They thoroughly loved it. The two girls, now at 12 and 10, look happy and fulfilled. My friend said she and other parents were very involved with the school, helping to plan and carry out numberous activities. Parents and teaching are discussing details about how kids are doing all the time. It is simply wrong to suggest that parents send kids to boarding kindergarten to wash their hands off them. On the other hand, many children in normal kindergartens are spoilt by their parents and grand-parents far less experienced, dedicated and professional than boarding kindergarten teachers.

  9. its not just China that has boarding School for Kindergarten. My husband is from India and it is very common for families who can afford it to send their children to boarding school from as young as 4 yrs old. They do this as they feel the education system is better than what can be provided from the local school in the local village or town. It really is horrible and I think it has had a huge impact on his and many others ability to communicate, feel secure, and grow into a loving adult. We have two small children and I just couldn’t think of anything worse. I would never allow and institution to raise our children and neither would he.

  10. This is my 1st time in this forum, found it doing a serch engine on child boarding schools. My son is 5 going on 10 and is a absolute terror. I had 2 take a leave of absense from my job because this is the 2nd babysitter that quits on me. He doesn’t behave what’s so ever, and talk back endlessly. Like I said he’s 5 but acts likes he’s ten. He speaks clearly and is extreamly smart but acts like a animal everywhere else but home. So don’t judge if u don’t know the circumstances not everyones child is the same not every child is an angel. I need help.

  11. My kids are 5 & 6. I’m a single parent and I actually found this post searching for boarding schools that accepted children their ages.
    I’ve just recently acquired the first job I’ve ever had that I can support us on. The problem is, there are 2 shifts- which will either not allow me to be home to get them up from school or pick them up OR I’d have to find somewhere for them to be from the time they got out of school until the middle of the night. The 2nd shift could work and I could use 24 hr childcare BUT in the end, I will have gone beyond our means and the job would no longer be enough.
    I decided that if I could find a boarding school in my state for them, I could support them there and get a roommate for this school year.
    Circumstances.

  12. I would love to put my 4 year old in boarding school please post if you hear of anything in michigan and as for the people against it, then don’t do it. It works for some and others not so much.

  13. My daughter is 4 years old and I am considering boarding school during the week for her (Monday-Friday). Does anyone know of a boarding school in the Chicago area who accepts children this age?

  14. I am lost. I am a 22 year old mother of three wise beyond my years. My son is 7 months. The two girls are 4 and 5. I am not their biological mother. I DO NOT feel any differently about them than I do for my son, Brody. I am now searching for boarding schools that accept children age 5 in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. By no means am I lazy. I work and go to school. I do not love this child any differently. I am fully dedicated to my fiance and my family life. I am doing this search in a desperate attempt to save my family and HELP my oldest daughter. Her biological mother abandon both of them! I took this on about two years ago. It is progressively getting worse. My family is falling apart because of her behavior. I am not looking for a cop out,okay. So before assuming something about a situation that you know nothing about, try to understamd; I want what is BEST for ALL 5 of us. My oldest needs some time at a boarding school, Period. She is extremely intelligent for her age. She loves to learn. If you would meet her you would think were crazy and that she has to be the biggest angel you have ever met. We have been through psych evaluations, counseling, etc. She has extreme issues and is very advanced in her manipulative and vindictive ways. I just love this child. She has the beauty and brains everyone would love to have. She makes her father and I so extremely proud most of the time. Yet, we are continuously emotionally abused by her controlling personality. SHE IS A TERROR. I’m quite sure you have never came across anything so bitter-sweet. I want to save my family. I have exhausted all options. We NEED HELP. Please provide any information possible. WE’re desperate for some direction. I am certain my family will not last much longer if something does not change. [email protected].

  15. I am lost. I am a 22 year old mother of three wise beyond my years. My son is 7 months. The two girls are 4 and 5. I am not their biological mother. I DO NOT feel any differently about them than I do for my son, Brody. I am now searching for boarding schools that accept children age 5 in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. By no means am I lazy. I work and go to school. I do not love this child any differently. I am fully dedicated to my fiance and my family life. I am doing this search in a desperate attempt to save my family and HELP my oldest daughter. Her biological mother abandon both of them! I took this on about two years ago. It is progressively getting worse. My family is falling apart because of her behavior. I am not looking for a cop out,okay. So before assuming something about a situation that you know nothing about, try to understamd; I want what is BEST for ALL 5 of us. My oldest needs some time at a boarding school, Period. She is extremely intelligent for her age. She loves to learn. If you would meet her you would think were crazy and that she has to be the biggest angel you have ever met. We have been through psych evaluations, counseling, etc. She has extreme issues and is very advanced in her manipulative and vindictive ways. I just love this child. She has the beauty and brains everyone would love to have. She makes her father and I so extremely proud most of the time. Yet, we are continuously emotionally abused by her controlling personality. SHE IS A TERROR. I’m quite sure you have never came across anything so bitter-sweet. I want to save my family. I have exhausted all options. We NEED HELP. Please provide any information possible. WE’re desperate for some direction. I am certain my family will not last much longer if something does not change. [email protected].

  16. I am a single parent to a three year old daughter. I am ready to send her to boarding school. It is the best thing for both of us. I have NO problem sending her and would send her tomorrow if I could find a place. One of the most responsible things a parent can do is know when the race is up and send their child off.

  17. Hi. I went on this site because I am doing a research on the pros and cons of boarding schools in kindergarten. I have been working as a teacher in a boarding kindergarten in China for 5 years. In my first year, I was sick often because of the shock of having to teach kids who have actually just weaned from mom’s breast. They cry to us all the time and I absorbed all their emotions. The school I work in makes sure that the kids’ overall welfare is well taken care of at least in the parents’ eyes. The kids are trained but not in the way I want my own son to be trained. There are just so many things I couldnt agree with. Parents do not know much of what happens after they turn their backs from their kids. Trainings and love from the teachers are not enough. My son needs me and his father more than anyone else in the world.I want to see my son grow everyday and I don’t want to miss those moments with him. What I have observed in the students is that when they reach 5, they do not have that particular attachment to their parents anymore because they have been staying in the school since they were 2 or 3. I don’t want to experience this with my son.
    For those, misbehaved kids, we saw some having some dramatic changes but not for some. Cooperation between the parents and the teachers is much needed. For some, boarding babies might work. I believe that we all have different circumstances and we should just act according to them.

  18. MY SON IS 6 YEARS OLD , IM LOOKING FOR BOARDING SUMMER SCHOOL SO HE CAN LEARN ENGLISH LANGUGE RIDE HORSES , SWIMMING , CAMPING AND ALL OTHER ACTIVETIES FOR ONE MONTH FROM JUL 20 UNTIL AUG 20. PLEASE CONTACT ME I WILL BE IN LOS ANGELES FROM JUL 19 UNTIL SEP 20 TARIQ SHARQI

  19. Pease help me! i have a 5 yr old boy that does not know how to behave he was kicked out of kindergarden now he was just kicked out of day care for peeing in a kids bookbag. i love my son but i dont like the way he acts is there really a boarding school that can help? yes i did therapy and all that! please i had to quit a great job because of this.

  20. Seriously I cannot believe you there is help out there for your so called out of control children I have one and My husband and I take her to behavior therapy twice a month and you know what they teach US how to discipline our wild child. for all of you that are at the end of your ropes I feel bad for your children. they are your responsibility so figure something out they’ll thank you for it instead of shipping them off for someone else to deal with.

  21. I am a 24 year old mother of two beautiful children. My daughter is 5 and my son is 4. I know that by even looking at this site and posting this everyone is already assuming I am just another young, dumb person that got pregnant… I am doing my best to raise my children and they are both VERY intelligent! I am very proud of both of my children and would do anything to provide for, love, and take care of them! My four year old son has been acting out in sooo many ways that neither I nor my boyfriend can handle him any more.
    I have talked to psychiatrists, schools, doctors, everything I could think of. I even put him in preschool.. I stay at home with my children and am a full time online college student. My boyfriend works full time, and we have a pretty stable home life. Things have been rocky and rough in the past, but my son just recently started acting out. Well, several months ago.
    Things have gotten so bad that even my own mother has agreed that I need to go outside of my own reach to get help for him. I do not in any way just want to ‘ship my son off.’ I simply want to do what is best and help him by whatever means necessary. If that means putting him somewhere where people are trained to deal with situations like his and children with behavioral problems, so be it!
    My son obviously has some deep set anger, and for whatever reason, I can not get to the bottom of it or help him. We have gotten creative in our disciplining and parenting. We have done sticker charts, reward systems, taken things away, done time outs, we even started simple chores and allowance! He helps mommy put away the laundry and clean up his toys, he gets a dollar in his money jar! His preschool teacher and his doctors agree that we have done things appropriately and responsibly. They have even commended us for doing so.
    I know that raising children is by no means an easy task and that every child is different and that some children just need extra help. However, I have stretched to the farthest ends of my imagination attempting to help my son! It is NOT working! I could handle the typical temper tantrums over not getting what he wants and having to punish him. But he just seems so angry that I pretty much feel bad for handing out punishment, though I stick to it in that area.
    Does anyone have any advice?! Or know of anywhere that assists for these types of problems in Pennsylvania? I live in West Perry county if anyone knows where that is. Please help! My own mother didn’t even know what to tell me aside from calling in reinforcements!!! I just want to help my son! It tears me apart inside knowing that my baby is so unhappy and angry and I don’t know how to fix it!
    Though his behavior frustrates me to no end, all I really want and am concerned with is that my child is unhappy! I want him to be happy! I love my children more than life itself and if I have to send him somewhere to get him back to his happy, chipper, loving self, I will do it! I HAVE to find help for my baby!!!

  22. As for those of you who think we are just whining about our chidren being ‘out of control’… You do not know anything. Everyone’s situations are different and some people ARE just trying to ship their kids off, but guess what, hypocritical comments like that make you just as low! Some of us ARE at our wit’s end…. And some of us HAVE tried therapy, etc.! Sometimes the best thing a parent can do is to get their child the help they need by ANY MEANS NECESSARY! Some of us have OUR CHILDRENS BEST INTEREST IN MIND!!! We are not all just frustrated parents trying to get a break! I don’t even care about the fact that I am frustrated! What I care about is that MY CHILD obviously has problems that are out of MY control and there may be someone who can help him where I can not!!! SO!!! If someone has an idea of how my child can be helped, SO BE IT! I WILL NOT BE JUDGED FOR TRYING TO HELP MY CHILD!!! AND I FEEL BAD FOR THE CHILDREN OF THOSE HYPOCRITES BECAUSE THEY WILL GROW UP TO BE JUST THE SAME AS THEIR PARENTS, AND WHERE DOES HYPOCRACY AND A JUDGEMENTAL ATTITUDE GET YOU THESE DAYS?!

  23. So I googled Kindegarten Boarding Schools because I am actually seeking one out. My child has been through 7 daycares/baysitters and now to schools and he is only in kindegarten. I have done everything correctly, including therapy, supplements, positive reinforcement, discipline, and absolutely nothing works. I will say he is the healthiest kid that I know but other than that no one can deal with him. He doesn’t have a diagnosis ( maybe he’s a sociopath) so I am out of options and truly just want the best for my child. As much as it may hurt maybe he needs to realize that his behavior has landed him in a place where that he doesn’t like and he needs to change. I am out of options.

  24. i have googled everything my is doing at home i have tried different styles of discipline techniques they work for the first time but when you try them again it makes things worse,. i have spoken to her preschool about the behavior that my 4 year old does but they seem not interested in helping me find a suitable solution to the behavior my child is doing we have recently stopped putting toilet paper in the toilet there for she likes to take them and tear them up as with her books we give her allot of attention but it seems not to work im also pregnant we include her into the feeling stages of the pregnancy but she doesn’t want to listen or anything like that

  25. Hi I need help with my five year: I’m a single parent and I have a 5 year old I’m only 20 and he’s very uncontrollable. I’ve tried everything, I’ve talked to him sweet, I’ve yelled at him, I’ve put him in the corner but nothing has worked. He was in pre-k this year and the first teacher he had could not put up with him, I would constantly get calls from school and he is always hyper. I do not wish to put him on medication he does not have a father at all. Help pleaseeee

    • Thanks for your note, Jennifer. Sounds like you’re having a very tough time. Wondering if you have a pastor or rabbi or similar, or perhaps a social worker who can assist and offer suggestions on what you can do? I’d also look very closely at his diet and try feeding him pure foods, perhaps even trying to take him off gluten and dairy for a week or two. Good luck!

  26. Hi Jennifer,

    One thing you might want to do is read this amazing book called Raising Boys. Here’s a link:

    https://www.google.com/shopping/product/5425668332626200836

    My son was also pretty challenging at that age, and there is a reason for some of that. At about 4 years old, boys get a huge testosterone surge that is about 400x more than normal. So they tend to be much more aggressive and difficult.

    I put a lock on the outside of his door, made sure he was safe, and sometimes let him have his tantrums on his own in his room. This kept us BOTH safe. The important thing is that you are both SAFE. If your temper gets triggered, he needs to be in a safe “time out” space, and so do you.

    What also helped with my son when he started to get really difficult, is instead of “time out” I would have a “time in.” For “time in,” we would go into his room and cozy up with blanket and pillow, and I would just hold him and read to him.

    Kids are very susceptible to getting over stimulating — whether from too much sugar, too much t.v., too much of any external stimulation. I suspect a lot of “difficult” children are just children who need more space and time for quiet down time with mom.

    See if you can track when he is being difficult and what preceding it. I’ve had friends who found out their kid at some allergies. Maybe not what your doctor would obviously acknowledge, but just ongoing over-stimulation due to irritating foods. Gluten, sugar, low-carbohydrate foods, etc. are big suspects.

    So, try to watch what he eats. Give him a good protein-based breakfast, like scrambled eggs, and a good protein lunch and dinner to stabilize his blood sugar. Don’t give him juice! Juice is a horror for all children and is pretty evil for cavities and hyperness. Brown rice, quinoa, lots of fruits and veggies. See if there are any other things that might be “triggers” for his behavior. I would first just cut back on any simple carbohydrates, particularly juices.

    I do think paying attention to any overstimulating situations might be the key. See what happens when you are home and doing quiet activities versus out and about.

    You are the best detective to track this down, but you might need help from a good naturopath in your area. I would focus on calm, relaxed environment and “time in” with you to read, relax and feel safe and good.

    Their are many resources locally, such as visiting nurse programs and parent support groups where you can also get some free personal assistance.

    If it is this boy hormone thing, it only lasts for one year. I can’t believe how horrible a parent I felt during that year. The key is for YOU to stay chill and neutral and calmly be consistent in your responses. He is not excused from hitting, so he can go to his room, and you can lock it for a short period of time (5 minutes) if you need to as long as he is safe. I remember my son kicking his door for a solid five minutes. It gave me time to calm down, and then he sort of exhausted himself.

    Going out on a walk is also a good idea in nature. Find what works. Find some support!!!

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