When my kids were born, I contemplated whether to put them in kindergarten or not. The kindergartens in Iceland operate during weekdays and working hours, i.e. Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM. This is a tad different from the kindergarten I went to when I grew up in Indonesia.
In Indonesia, children from the age of 4 to 6 years will attend kindergarten that opens on weekdays, from 8 to 10 in the morning. Usually they alternate between days, i.e. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
In Iceland, children as young as 12 months old can be admitted to kindergarten. They can stay there all 5 days of the week, all day.
My mum suggested that I hire a full-time live-in nanny to take care of my sons at home, instead of sending them off to kindergarten. It is a pretty common practice in Jakarta to hire a full-time nanny who lives at your home. In contrast, it is not common at all here in Iceland.
With such opposing common practices between my two home countries, it took me quite a while to find out what fits our family best.
Why I love kindergarten
However, based on my experiences with the kindergarten here since 2013, I love sending my kids there, because:
- There is no way that I could keep them off TV/iPads/computers from 8 AM to 5 PM.
- I am really bad at keeping up daily routines.
- Sometimes, I need a break from the kids. I love them, but being in constant interaction with them really takes a toll on me.
- I will not be able to focus on them 100% all day, there will always be laundry, cooking, and sticky floors that distract me.
- I am not creative at all in arts, crafts or other kids’ stuffs.
- I believe it takes a village in raising kids. In this case, it takes a whole kindergarten and other relevant parties in raising mine:
- Great highly qualified teachers that my kids absolutely adore.
- Super talented chef and kitchen assistants who cook varieties of healthy food for the children every day.
- Around 90 children ranging from 12 months to 6 year olds who provide social skills and be best friends to my sons.
- Regulated environment that adheres to state’s rules, county’s rules, and Department of Education’s rules.
Why I DON’T love kindergarten
As soon as my kids start kindergarten, they get sick, and it happens so often! There were times when they would go to kindergarten for 1 day, then got sick for two weeks.
Be it common flu, RS virus, chicken pox, hand and mouth disease, stomach bug, tapeworm, and lice, my kids have got them at one time or another.
It is infuriating at times, especially when they catch something that is contagious and it ends up infecting everyone at our house.
Is kindergarten the right choice?
Once my kids got older, the sickness became less frequent. Though I still get emails every now and then whenever there is a lice breakout. I am seriously considering shaving their head bald now.
Bottom line is, both my kids love their kindergarten. I love their kindergarten and all the people there. Even though my kids will definitely get their share of the sniffles when the flu season starts, they learn so much from their kindergarten and its environment that I will never be able to replicate if they are just to stay home with me all day. So, in our family, kindergarten was the right choice.