Early Childhood Education – Are You Pushing Too Hard?


I stumbled across these Kumon workbooks at MPH bookshop last night.  While shopping at Midvalley Megamall, Gavin insisted on taking his regular stroll through MPH to check out what’s new in the Thomas and Friends section (which, incidentally, was nothing).  As I waited for him to tire of looking at the same old Thomas books he’s seen a hundred times before, I noticed these Kumon books at the “New at MPH” stand nearby.

I thought it was interesting because they also have books for ages 2 and above on cutting, folding and colouring:



At RM23-25 each, it’s certainly a lot dearer than the Thomas and Friends and Little Einsteins puzzle books which are priced at around RM10 each.  But since the Kumon books are a lot more activity-focused and age-specific, I thought it might be worth while giving them a go.

Hubby initially wondered if I was pushing Gavin too hard to develop too quickly.  Yes, the thought had crossed my mind that I am in danger of turning into a super kiasu mother (let’s face it, I already am a kiasu mother).  Then I think back to the reason why my parents never thought my brother and I how to speak Chinese when we were little – they were afraid of confusing us – which is obviously a fallacy because young children learn languages faster than at any other age.

Already I have underestimated the potentials of a young child twice – in Sign Language development and in motor skills development.  I thought that a child under 1 year would not have the manual dexterity to sign but I was wrong.  I thought that a toddler would not have the strength or motor skills to be able to rock climb, but I was wrong (check these rock climbing toddlers out).

Even though I know that the brain of a young child is like a sponge that can absorb far more than we could ever imagine, I am still underestimating the learning capabilities of children.  I guess it is a little like what my brother once said, “We don’t know what children are capable of so the only thing we can do is to keep offering new materials.  If they want it, they’ll take it, if not, they’ll just ignore it.”

Sounds like good advice to me.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that the whole idea of early childhood education is to give a child as many opportunities to learn as possible and whether the child chooses to take it up or not is up to the child.  I know from experience that I could never force Gavin to learn anything that he isn’t interested in.  I could offer it to him as much as I want to and he will just ignore me (hence the reason why my music class was such an abysmal failure and art class a roaring success).  Of course, there are little things you can do to influence a child’s interest but that’s a huge chasm away from trying to force a child to learn something new.

Below: Gavin’s latest piece of art work – I call it The Ghost Trains.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

2 thoughts on “Early Childhood Education – Are You Pushing Too Hard?

  1. This is great! Thanks so much for the free downloads of bits of intelligence cards. I’m interested in any kind of homemade cards that I can make for my son.


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