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Every parent wants the best for their child. And, today more than ever, the pressure is on to prepare children for their first year of elementary school. With all this pressure, the question comes up, if all these extra classes are too much?
Preschools booming in China
Those colorful timetables can also be called thieves since they can rob kids of their childhood as five and six-year-olds should be running outside rather than in the classroom. But here in Beijing, preschools are growing in popularity.
Parents, however, are often in the dark about the skills their children need before entering elementary school.
One parent said, "Some of my relatives and friends send their kids to preschools before they enter the first year of elementary school. After learning for six months, they can recite many things, including poems and some ballads in English, also they can tell stories by themselves. But when I go back, I find my child knows less than them. It makes me very anxious. The only thing I know is that I cannot let my child lag behind."
With all this pressure, there's no wonder that preschools and parents alike are eager to make sure children are prepared for school. Unfortunately, many well-meaning preschools are bringing first grade expectations into the classroom.
One education expert Lian Fengqin said, "In China, many parents want their child to enter some reputable elementary schools, so their children need to receive high evaluations. Academic subjects count a great deal in this regard. So many preschools combine as much knowledge as they can to meet the competitive situation ahead."
According to a statement released by the Ministry of Education in early March, the Chinese government plans to address problems plaguing the nation's preschool education system, including the great academic burden placed on preschoolers.
Hopefully, in the near future, preschool education can go back to what it used to be the days of picture books, puppets, crayons and doll houses rather than planned strategies to teach kids reading, math and even foreign languages.