Sharmaine Koh

Singapore

Published Work

Op-ed Competition 2016

Preschool Tuition: Let Children be Children

My parents grew up in a time when education was seen more as a supplementary vitamin than a vital life-support pill. For all the time their peers didn’t spend on homework, they spent on play. They often spoke about all the silly things children did to occupy the hours of idle slow afternoons in suburban Singapore. It seemed to me that the less they had then, the more they gained from the dizzying blithe they derived from games inspired by their own boundless imagination, from catching and fighting spiders, flying kites fashioned from old plastic bags and raffia string, chalked hopscotch on the floor to rough races in the old marsh next to the river.

Fast forward to the 21st century, such concepts of a carefree childhood are in tenuous existence. In a heightened climate of competition, Singaporean parents are finding themselves hard-pressed to prepare their children for the challenges of academic school life. A large proportion of parents here...