Planning Life

What do you think about this chart?

009  Programme for International Student Assessment — test scores
 # Reading – Overall Mathematics Science
 1  China: Shanghai  556  China: Shanghai  600  China: Shanghai  575
 2  Korea  539  Singapore  562  Finland  554
 3  Finland  536  Hong Kong  555  Hong Kong  549
 4  Hong Kong  533  Korea  546  Singapore  542
 5  Singapore  526  Chinese taipei  543  Japan  539
 6  Canada  524  Finland  541  Korea  538
 7  New Zealand  521  Liechtenstein  536  New Zealand  532
 8  Japan  520  Switzerland  534  Canada  529
 9  Australia  515  Japan  529  Estonia  528
 10  Netherlands  508  Canada  527  Australia  527
 11  Belgium  506  Netherlands  526  Netherlands  522
 12  Norway  503  China: Macao  525  Chinese taipei  520
 13  Estonia  501  New Zealand  519  Liechtenstein  520
 14  Switzerland  501  Belgium  515  Germany  520
 15  Iceland  500  Australia  514  Switzerland  517
 16  Poland  500  Germany  513  United Kingdom  514
 17  United States  500  Estonia  512  Slovenia  512
 18  Liechtenstein  499  Iceland  507  China: Macao  511
 19  Germany  497  Denmark  503  Poland  508
 20  Sweden  497  Slovenia  501  Ireland  508

I’m from Singapore and it is a country that is particularly interested in test scores. What I didn’t know was so is almost every country… statistics, scores and ratings are very accessible and impressive. For example, if I was looking for a school for my child and didn’t know very many people in the neighbourhood, I might go online and google for schools near my postcode and then click on the Ofsted Report that is sure to accompany whatever pops up. I hate to admit it but I have a feeling that I would probably use my 15 minutes before it’s time to get dinner ready to read only the ‘Outstanding’ ones…

It is no wonder that a large number of parents I have met appear to place a rather heavy emphasis on their children’s test scores. My mother, who did exactly that, told me that she thought that that was one of the best things she could do for me. Because a good degree is more likely to give you a good livelihood, a ‘better position in life’ and so on.

A lot of my peers who did well in school, are doing really well. A lot of my peers who did not do so well in school, are doing really well.This latter group of friends includes people with regular jobs and others with exciting ones like a tailor/ seamstress/ designer, a restauranteur, a race car driver, an adventure sports organiser, computer/ internet people, and several of them make a large amount of money doing very legal things I didn’t really know existed. Now this is a completely personal observation, unsupported by any statistics whatsoever. And of course, I may belong to a certain socioeconomic stratus of people so nothing’s fair anyway.

But the point of I am trying to make  is, life is so varied, and so rarely, does it follow your plans. Prepare your child for life, for living! We all have one really important lesson we want to teach our children. What is yours? What is the one thing you want your child to take away from your parenting/ teaching?  Why do we teach our children to read? Surely, it is not just so they can name a letter and read a word?

At the playgroup, not only will we have a variety of natural and everyday things for your child to work with, we will also encourage adults to allow the child to have opportunities to try, succeed and fail, for themselves. Every child and every person will do this differently. That is why children are accompanied for this playgroup as this is the most likely permutation in your daily life with your child. We hope for the group to support and encourage one another by individual adults putting their focus on their interaction with their own child, while in the company of others and away from the stresses of time and societal expectations. It is a very tall order but life can be occasionally without compromises. Your experience, along with your child’s, will hopefully be very unique and enjoyable.


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