Before you start to get any weird ideas about this post, this picture will help you to visualize what this post is all about.
I have been dropped a bomb that I have to try harder to coach Kyle in Chinese by his enrichment teacher, as he is way behind his classmates in Chinese enrichment class. Enrichment class is filled with children who attend Chinese SAP Schools, most who have strong proficiency of the language.
With disbelief I say this; the Chinese SAP School still continues to haunt me even when I made the decision not to put K in my hb’s alumni.
Seeking external help for your child in academics has become an issue of economics. K and another girl in this enrichment class are just about the only ones that don’t attend these schools. So they are the minority, majority demands will always win, as demand translates to dollars and cents for the school.
And I have learnt that not coaching your child with an advance syllabus ahead of what is taught in school, puts him/her in a disadvantage position in Enrichment Class.
This is what I discovered
The enrichment teacher highlighted that the school is only 1 lesson ahead of what is taught in school. I had to clarify what ‘school’ he was referring to, and the teacher mentioned the names of 2 Chinese SAP schools located in the central/west.
This is taught in a P1 enrichment class;
The worksheets in Pri 1 Enrichment Class consist of written activities for i) Re-arranging the sentence, ii)Choosing the right chinese character iii)Comprehension with multiple choice, added with 3 more written comprehension questions.
There is no way he is able to do this by himself, without having the teacher sit next to him and guide him letter by letter, word by word.
No wonder the enrichment teacher told me that he needed to catch up, having a slower child like K in the class disrupts group instruction!
There is also 1.5 pages of read-aloud passage for the child. I can confidently say that he can only read less than 10 high frequency words in this passage.
Err.. I think looking at this, enrichment school at least 6-12 months ahead of the MOE curriculum!
My conclusion : if u are a parent with a child in a Chinese SAP school, rejoice and do a dance. Your child is close to 1 year ahead of the other children who attend all other schools that follow the MOE syllabus.
As for those who plan to put you child in Chinese SAP school next year or the year after. Its-time-to-PANIC, cos if by any chance your child is like mine, and to make the situation worse, throw in a ‘potato/banana’ mum‘…your child first year in Primary 1 is about to make you very miserable.
What to do?
I was extremely stressed when I went through the worksheets. The reality is that the gap is tremendous, despite coaching him with Chinese at home.
We have to try many times harder than we are doing now with Chinese home-learning, till we get Chinese characters coming out of our eyes and ears. I think i will need to get a tuition teacher for K to catch up with Enrichment class.
Does it make sense to be paying for supplementary classes and then working very hard with home learning to ensure he is on par with his classmates standards in enrichment class? Will it make me feel better if he is months ahead (like 12 months…) of his classmate in his school?
Maybe I am the confused parent here. Enrichment likely means ‘further enhancement of already capable standards’ or ‘help for children taking higher Chinese’. I somehow understood that incorrectly.
So instead of taking the jump to look for an alternative group tuition/enrichment classes. I called the teacher and told him that we will move K down a level to K2. What matters is that the pace at K2 is good for him, since it scaffolds his learning and still challenges his learning of the Chinese language.
Here’s Enrichment Class worksheet at the K2 level,
For those unfamiliar with the MOE syllabus of Chinese, the first 2 semesters of P1 are focused on teaching the children HYPY, Chinese Character recognition does not come in until the last two terms of the year. That is, if your child does not attend a Chinese SAP School.
Incidentally, I found a video on Youtube with the same title as this post; ‘Harder, Better, Faster’ by Daft Punk. The video really ties in with the theme of the pursuit of high achievement in Singapore’s societal culture. You will need to watch the video to the end, to get the gist of the subliminal messages from the song.
Once your children join the Singapore production line, feelings of insecurity and insufficiency will be thrown in as a bonus!
P.S. Don’t ask me what Enrichment school this is, as I am NOT going to divulge the name of the school.
Update 13 Mar PM – I would not say that this is a bad school. K enjoys the format of teaching in this school, as the children learn through games, songs and stories also at P1, and the teachers are caring. I wouldn’t know this problem if the teacher didn’t bother to highlight to me, he could have easily cater to the rest and ignore him in class. It is still a good enrichment school, as I don’t wish to judge the enrichment school as ‘not being a good enrichment school’ just because the class is not catered to one child, my child.
Another March Giveaway!
It’s giveaway month in March, as it is the month of K’s birthday and he is turning 7 very soon! So we want to celebrate with friends who have been reading Catch FortyWinks Blog.
I will be picking 3 random winners from the comments below, so do leave a comment for me and you might be one of the 3 people who will win one of these sets of Chinese Picture Books! Giveaway CLOSED.
Congratulations M Lim, Nancy Cheng and Winnie, you have won a set of Chinese Picture Books each. I will be dropping you an email about your win.