25 December 2009

Be proactive - it makes a difference

My little baby girl will to go kindergarten for the first time next year, and I already have butterflies in my stomach!

When my son was in kinder back in KL, he had 3 hours of classes. Here in Ipoh, it seems that kinders tend to go for a bit longer - 3.5 hours. So, I was quite distressed when informed by my daughter's kinder that they would extend the hours to 4 hours next year. Apparently it is required by the Ministry of Education.

I tried to obtain a confirmation on this matter from the Ministry of Education. Of course, true to form, I spent a whole morning calling MoE in Putrajaya, with either nobody picking up the phone, the line being busy or the person who eventually did pick up the phone directing me to another number! Well, guess I have to trust the kindergarten....why else would they want to voluntarily want to extend their hours anyway?

So, the new hours are 0830-1230. Such long hours for my poor little baby girl. I quickly called the principal to ask what the extra half hour would be for. She told me not to worry; 0830-0845 would be assembly while 0845-0900 would be snack time. Then classes all the way until 1230.

I feel that schedule could be improved. It is too much to expect young children to sit down for classes for 3.5 hours at a stretch without a snack break. The snack time at 0845 is redundant as the children would have been fed breakfast at home before going to kinder. It makes much more sense to move the snack time midway to about 10am. That would re-energise the kids and rejuvenate their attention. I expressed as much to the principal but of course she politely said the schedule would be fine.

Using an email the principal had sent to parents, I initiated contact with the parents on the email list and explained my concerns, inviting their feedback. I was pleased to receive many replies - all of them saying that they were not aware of the change in snack time and that they too agreed with me that it was inappropriate. I suggested that we should speak to the principal together on this matter. I am glad I was proactive in approaching other parents with my concern, and equally happy that the other parents were responsive.

It cuts across all matters - educational issues, politics, cultural interaction, bad government administration - we need to be proactive and responsive, otherwise who is to make the difference? The old habit of "let others do it" or "why bother" must go!


  1. I just found out about the new hours when I register Ashley at the new kindy :( I hope your girl's kindy would change its snack time after all of you have spoken to the principal. 8.45am is way too early to eat, especially when some kids would have taken some food/drink before going to school. Merry Christmas to you and yours :)

  2. Merry Christmas to you and family Barb! Ashley is 4 next year, what kindy is she going to?

  3. Hey Judy, Ashley will be 5 next year. She started going to kindergarten this year. I decided to change her to a Chinese-based kindy - Tadika Chim to get her prepare for Std 1 in a Chinese school. God help me please!

    Here's wishing you and your family a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year :D

  4. Hey Ashley and my girlie are the same age! I heard Tadika Chim is a good kindy to prepare for chinese school. Don't worry - the kids will adjust. My son is doing well in Chinese School despite being quite a yellow banana and with both parents illiterate in Chinese. Happy new year!