Parenting Thought: Naked Truth About ABC and 123

It’s ok when your child at the age of 2, didn’t even know what is ABC or 123.

At the age of 3, most children in Singapore would have covered ABC & 123.

At the age of 4, if your kids (particularly) living in Singapore and going to grow up in Singapore, do know ABC and 123, parents will definitely starts to panic.

At the age of 5, sadly, if your kids still don’t know, I think it is either your kids have learning problem, you are not teaching, or the school is not doing a good job.


Yesterday, I read an article – Tuition for tots on Sunday Times. In that article, it becomes common for many parents signing up extra lessons for their tots from aged four to six for further reading, writing and maths classes on top of the skills they already pick up at pre-school such as recognising simple words and numbers. In fact I think from as early as 3 mths, parents started to send their children to enrichment classes.

I am not surprise this is happening because which parent won’t have a fear of losing out? Please don’t tell me it is ok that your kid didn’t know about ABC and 123 by the age of 4. 99% I would think you will be lying. Honestly, I would be worry if Yvette didn’t know her ABC and 123 by then.

I will strongly  encourage parents to teach their tots themselves rather than outsource this task at tender age. Many feel it is hard to teach their children, I face the same difficulty when I first started out to teach Yvette myself.

Started off with reading book first which I did (Or many of you did). Spend time playing with them. I like parent accompanied enrichment class instead of sending my child to playgroup at 18 mths. I don’t like ABC to be taught before 18 mths that is the reason why I moved from GUG to JGC.

Then slowly move on to small activity. Any activity which involve motor skill, some brain skill from the tots – sorting, puzzle, scooping, playing with water, paint, etc. Then I moved on doing structured program at home at 18 mths. I started to do Starfall with Yvette on 20 mths (and she mastered all their sound and ABC when she turned two. She knows the ABC sequence when she is 25 mths. 5 months of teaching ABC.) and slowly move to more learning activity. At 29 mths, she has a big bank of vocabulary, talk in a long long sentences. (And we are lucky Yvette could learn just by listening especially her speech.)

I have this like-mind thinking. The senior director of pedagogy at EtonHouse Preschools said, “Our children already have opportunities in pre-school to explore many concepts. They need time out for activities such as exploring the outdoors and family bonding to provide balance.”

I feel bonding is so important that is the main reason I stay at home. But D is working, the restructuring exercise had just over, and luckily he was offered again with a job. With that, he need to work at least one or two Sunday per month. So we rather spend time bonding with Yvette rather than to ship her off to class. I hope I will not be pressurised by the external factor when Yvette turns 4!

P/S: I like this mother’s thought on raising an ambition child and not sending her tots to tuition class. Hop over to read her entry!


13 thoughts on “Parenting Thought: Naked Truth About ABC and 123

  1. You don’t need to know ABCs to be able to read English. Just like you don’t learn the “bian” before you learn to read Chinese characters, right? Whoever learns strokes before the actual character?

    That being said, it is possible to do well in primary school even starting out not knowing to read bc I’ve gone down both pathways with my kids starting p1 knowing how to read and also not knowing how to read. Haha – the one that didn’t know how to read end up doing better than the one that could.

    • Yes, in a way. But basic still need to be taught right?

      As for your kids, baby still excel that you let him see those DVD when he was a baby. He knows to read very well by 2. Who knows he will out do his sibling! If not you won’t bother to let him see those DVD right?

      • My post doesn’t really stress on learning ABC and 123 at young age. It is our responsibility to teach them to read. Whether by phonic or by whole language, it is to start early. In the past where competition is not that fierce, perhaps still ok. But now, if you don’t teach, we definitely will worry.

      • haha – actually i didn’t even have much faith in the DVDs. I bought 1 Your baby can read(YBCR) VCD, and I didn’t show. But it was my dh & my maid that happily showed him. haha. Then when I saw after quite a long while how he concentrated on the videos, that I went to get the rest of the set. It was only after he finished with the YBCR set that I bought the Chinese WinktoLearn(WTL) DVD set based on a friend’s recommendation.

        Now I fully recommend to everyone! But most people are still sceptical about it, like I used to be.

  2. Hi Sunflower, thanks for linking to my post.

    With such a wide range of enrichment programmes available in Singapore, parents need to be discerning in picking the one that truly adds value to their kids’ learning progress.

    If a child is or will be attending nursery school/childcare centre, the alphabet, phonics (the so-called reading or literacy programmes) and Maths concepts will all be taught there anyway. What is the real advantage of sending tots to extra classes to learn all these BEFORE it is taught in school? So that they get a head-start from their fellow 3 years old? They will still have to “waste” time sitting through the lessons in school anyway, don’t they?

    Frankly, it is the same with teaching them at home. I think many parents spend too much time teaching their tots ABCs and counting and numeral recognition. What is the real relevance or advantage to a child who can recite up to 100, or even 10,000 for that matter? Not much, I am afraid.

    Enrichment programmes should be enriching in nature. Period. They should provide opportunities and exposure for tots/preschoolers to pick up the skills set and knowledge base that are not easily attainable in our preschool programmes and that by gaining these skills/knowledge, the child can continue to hone these areas into truly valuable assets that will make a real difference to their learning journey. The programmes that cultivate creative and critical thinking skills, analytical and problem-solving skills and relevant content such as current affairs and general knowledge, are the ones that far-sighted parents should invest in.

    My 2 cents worth. :>

    • Yeah, that why I am moving on. Enough of ABC for me to teach Yvette at home. 🙂

      I agree with you, while basic is very much needed, the programmes that cultivate creative and critical thinking skills, analytical and problem-solving skills and relevant content such as current affairs and general knowledge is what we need to invest on.

      We have started a new lesson plan at home (benefit from your lesson) and hope you will come by and share with me your thought on my lesson plan!

  3. Kids should learn as much as possible from life’s experiences and link these experiences to alphabets, words, numbers, etc. This way, learning comes alive and they see the real meaning and fun of learning.

    Our society also needs to place more emphasis on teaching our children concepts of sustainability and humanities. I’ve seen many high-performers who excel in academics and work, but their success (and money) is purely for their own benefit and enjoyment. I’m sure parents can do more to educate children to genuinely care and share.

  4. Pingback: Kiasu parent? Me? « R & J Stories

  5. Honestly, I’m quite against tuition for toddlers too. I think parents are still the best people to expose their young ones to different learning activities at home, or like what you’ve mentioned, go with them to parent-accompanied classes. But I guess alot of parents are just panicky when it comes to preparing their kids for formal school education. Either that, or they’re too busy to teach their kids themselves. That’s why the tuition industry is booming in S’pore.

    • I really like parent accompanied class. I like it so that I can help Yvette on area that she is not good on or try to expand on what the teacher had taught!

      Hey you know, I am looking forward on how you going to prepare your Issac for P1. Looking forward to learn from you!

      I also looking forward to meet your little girl. Have a safe delivery!!!

      • Thanks for your well-wishes! 🙂

        Well, honestly I’m starting to feel the “stress” of Isaac going P1 and will be cracking my head to prepare him when he starts K2 next year… that’s right after my delivery!

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