17 July 2005

Little Wang Goes to Class

Some time ago on this blog, I mentioned that my first kid, Little Wang, is gifted, and I also briefly discussed the challenges of raising such a child. One of these challenges is to find a suitable preschool/playgroup/kindergarten environmment.

Little Wang, who is three years old, is still attending a once-a-week, one-hour-only class at a place called Growing Up Gifted. For toddlers and young kids in general, this is the best place in Singapore I've come across so far, and I strongly recommend it.

Notwithstanding the above, GUG is not ideal for Little Wang. We continue to send Little Wang there because it's the best place we can find - but nothing in the curriculum is really the right fit for Little Wang. He is already the youngest kid in his class, but the subject matter is too easy to seriously challenge him. Today, when I picked Little Wang up after class, his teacher remarked that Little Wang has been answering questions for everyone in class, and all his answers are correct.

Typical of young gifted kids, Little Wang is no conformist. He has his own ideas of what he wants to do, and how. If he wants to answer all the questions, then he will. But if he doesn't want to do something, he simply won't. Today's art project was to colour a picture of a bear and then to print straight lines across the picture. This was to show that the bear was in a cage. All the other kids enthusiastically did this. However, Little Wang did nothing except smear a little brown on his bear. Despite the teacher's persuasion, most of Little Wang's bear remained uncoloured.

Later, after class, I asked Little Wang why he didn't colour his bear like all the other kids did. Little Wang replied matter-of-factly, "Bears don't like cages."

At GUG, the teachers are really good in that they really know what teaching young kids is all about. They never scold, they are always encouraging, and they strive to make all their lessons fun and enjoyable for the kids. In fact, there are no "lessons" - everything is more like a "play activity". Thus Little Wang could get away with refusing to colour his bear.

But I worry somewhat about the day when Little Wang has to enter the mainstream education system in Singapore. I can just imagine an older version of him saying, "None of the answers to this multiple-choice question are really correct." Or, "The PSLE textbook is wrong. Wikipedia gives the right answer." I just don't think that the Singapore education system will take too kindly to that.

"Hello, Mrs Goh? This is Little Wang.
Could you donate some peanuts to me? I really like your kind of peanuts."


Anonymous said...

Once Little Wang is old enough, you might want to consider sending him to this school: http://depts.washington.edu/cscy/eep/ts-eep.shtml

Anonymous said...

Are we going to get littlecommentarysingapore.blogspot?

tscd said...
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tscd said...

Little Wang will have to learn socially acceptable behaviours, just like everyone else. I'm sure he'll have no problem fitting in at school - it has been shown that highly intelligent individuals are also highly sensitive and adaptable.

I think Little Wang will have difficulty with making friends within his peergroup (it's tough to be different) and also being totally bored at school.

If you think that the teachers aren't pacing it fast enough, you can always buy some books for him to read - he obviously isn't the type who needs spoonfeeding of information.

Ellipsis said...

little wang's facial features don't seem to have changed one bit from that seen in the first baby photo uploaded on this blog.:)

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...

You mean, my original profile photo? That was actually Little Wang No. 2, my baby girl. Yes, they do look quite alike. ;)

Gilbert Koh aka Mr Wang said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.