Humility above individuality

Sunday July 22, 2012

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2012/7/22/education/11685921&sec=education

THE sentiments expressed by Valentine Cawley in his letter Denying a child’s individuality (Let’s hear it, July 15) disregard the many values imbibed by pupils in early childhood education.

Sounding like a disgruntled parent, he voiced his frustration and anger about an event which the children enjoyed being part of.

The sweeping statements he made only reflected his irritation and dissatisfaction over the children’s performance at a charity concert.

As a researcher in the area of giftedness among children, Cawley has failed to see the positive side of the concert.

While speaking about individuality, he has forgotten about humanity, and that the sacrifice of individuality is humility.

As a representative of the Association of Professional Early Childhood Providers, I was invited to witness this mammoth effort by children for charity. I can say that this colossal effort was not easy to manage, let alone stage.

The parents and teachers who painstakingly fulfilled everything that was necessary to put on such a great performance should be commended.

Enquiries with the preschool revealed that there was no force or compulsion for anyone to take part.

In fact only 25% of the total school population took part and that, too, on a voluntary basis, with the consent of parents.

It was not a school concert but a charity event in aid of underprivileged preschoolers. The aim was to instil in children good values like kindness, love, caring and sharing.

More importantly, through their “little” efforts they were able to make others understand the huge value of charity.

Cawley has overlooked the subtle learning points that come from participating in a charity event.

The children, including preschoolers, learnt the meaning of working together, being considerate toward one another, and helping each other in ensuring they do their best. They learnt what it is to be an ambassador for charity.

To my knowledge, the children were informed of the reasons for the charity event. Knowing that there were less fortunate children who could never dream of attending a quality preschool, enabled them to empathise, be generous and give from their hearts.

As a parent, Cawley would have to agree that his child has learnt some good values and morals while at the centre.

Furthermore, children in this particular programme are known to be well-mannered and respectful towards their elders, while being expressive, articulate and inquisitive.

Being an expert in his field, I am sure Cawley has high expectations and demands for the progress of his son, and I would say kudos to the principal and teachers for being able to satisfy his requirements these three long years.

CW