Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Kindergarten Menagerie

Readers of this blog know that I am not a fan of children.

I love the little bastards as long as they don't live at my house. I don't want any urchins living with me. I have dogs and am quite content with dogs.

While in China we were able to visit a kindergarten. My first thought was, why? My second thought was that our leader must have known someone to get us into a kindergarten.

Um, no.

Kindergartens are a tourist attraction in China.

We signed up for a pedicab tour of the Chinese Hutongs (traditional residential areas). Part of the tour included a stop and visit with a kindergarten class.

We all filed into the kindergarten and watched students drawing and singing. We even sang a song with them. We were able to interact with the kids, take their pictures, observe them. It was a bit strange. I cannot even imagine taking 27 people into a kindergarten in the U.S. to watch them working. It felt a bit like a zoo. We got to go in, stare at them, get them to laugh, and move on.

One of my students was visibly shaken and upset by this encounter. Some interpreted that to be crankiness. I understood her frustration. We were walking around a classroom playing with children who didn't belong to us. Parents know this is the procedure, but I can't imagine thinking that it would fine for tourists to wander about our schools in the U.S. The children were adorable and seemed to enjoy seeing us. I still think we are missing something.....

I will say this - the Chinese have it right again (in addition to unending booze, lazy susans on the table, and umbrellas in the summer sun)! Chinese families, beginning at age two, drop their children off on Monday at this campus kindergarten and retrieve them on Friday. They do pay for this service.

I might consider having children if I had to worry about them for two years. Then if I could drop them off for someone else to deal with for five days only to handle them for two days a week. Hooray! Sign me up for this kind of parenting!

I make light of this situation. Those who actually love and want children probably think this is crazy. Imagine being without your children for five straight days only to be reunited for two days per week? I guess it would be horrible.

I still think it's ideal.

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