Why Boarding Kindergarten

This was one question I had for the longest time, I still cold not get a satisfying answer of. Isn’t all the parents at least most of the parents love their children and want to see them every day or at least every night? I know my parents loved us in their own ways, but there were something under their circumstances that were clearly beyond themselves to cope. They needed help in childrearing because there were three of us with one year apart and they had found the solution, the boarding kindergarten. That was where I ended up with from age 3 to 7.

My Dad told me that kindergarten I was sent to was one of the best in the area. After only a short period of time, my Mom was impressed by how well I had made my own bed, folded my little comforter into a square like in military and set my shoes neatly under my bed. That had reassured my parents where my brother should also go when he reached the acceptance age. If you ask me, how did I feel to grew up in a boarding kindergarten, I honestly could not recall much that were worth mentioning. A lot of the details had been washed away as years has gone by, perhaps the one word I could use to describe that kindergarten is DISCIPLINE. From the surface, I was a timid shy and quiet little girl who never initiated any social contacts with other kids nor ever got myself into any serious trouble, but what was inside of me a complete different story.

According to the modern psychology, from age 0 to 3 are the critical age that a person’s personality of entire life is set. If that was an undesirable, doomed up bring and the roots of my today’s weirdness, I’d like to say like every adversity, there were sure also silver linings. The first one was no big deal, the early learning kindergarten classes very much covered everything we needed to learn for the 1st grade of elementary school, so my real elementary school started at the 2nd grade. The 2nd silver lining was significant, I got my very first friend, a best friend of 40 plus years. Anyone who has a best friend lasted that long, it’s a gift of life.

My childhood best friend, Jian was also a very quiet girl that no one in the same class included me had ever heard her spoken. There were something we were very alike; we both have completely different behaviors inside and outside the kindergarten. We were both actually quite wild, playful, energetic, full of imaginations; but in front of the public or strangers, we suppress our true natures. None of us did that deliberately. I can speak for myself now, it was the ridiculous bashfulness and the fear of unwanted attention that had driven me to speechless most of the time. There were awfully lots synchronicities later in our lives. We were destined to be friends.

If both of us were silent, how could we ever became friends. Not inside of the kindergarten of course. One Sunday evening, our door bell ran. When we opened the door, I saw it was Jian standing there with a woman, and another little girl; that were her Mother and her little sister. Her Mom explained to my parents: “My daughter wanted to visit your daughter and she told me that’s where she (me) lives.” She continued: “Every time we pass this street, she wanted to come to visit. I am sorry to bother you like this.” That was the beginning of our friendship, also the beginning of our parents’ friendship. Their friendships out lasted ours. It ended until their lives ended. Jian remembered where I lived because we all took the kindergarten transportation that went door to door to pick us up. She was already in the car when I got picked up. That’s how she know where I live. I was lucky being chosen, otherwise the course of my life would be very different. Our friendship never changed our behaviors in the kindergarten. No one had known we were friends and we were spending time together outside. I never had another friend like her again which I wish I could. That was the true friendship based on pure mutual admiration and similarities. We were both naïve and innocent; and that friendship had prolonged our childhood to the great extend.

Still, that does not answer the question of why boarding kindergartens were invented in China. I still could not make any sense out of it. It was expensive and most Chinese would not be able to afford. The wealthy Chinese families all have maids or living-in nannies, so they did not want to sent their children to a place that they only see their children one day and two nights a week. May be that was the best for some children, maybe it was for the unexpected and unplanned child, or for the extremely busy, or incompetent parents, extremely difficult children, one of the parent was critically ill and the home had became unsuitable for childrearing, maybe the parents just didn’t want to see the kids that much for whatever the reasons, there were tons of assumptions I had ran through my head, but none of them have made much sense to me because none of them seemed to apply to my case.

Looking back, I am still unclear about that. I never thought that was meant to be part of the Chinese culture, it didn’t seemed to fit. But it existed and the kindergarten was full most of the time. About three quarters of the kids there were daycare only, my friend Jian was one of them. Myself, and a year later the brother next to me were the unlucky one fourth.

To be continued…