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.