In my recent rendezvous with a working mother Soo Jung, who lives in Seoul with her husband and son, she described the parenting and preschool culture in South Korea.
Here are some anecdotes from our discussion:
Soo said – “I was born and brought up in the U.S. my early education and childhood had an influence of both American and Chinese culture. I’d never been to South Korea until my husband got an opportunity to move there for work. I am a working mother trying to raise a 3-year-old boy in South Korea.”
In the words of legendary poet T.S. Eliot – “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Being in Seoul and not knowing the regional language makes you a foreigner in your own homeland. While searching for a preschool for my son this was indeed a priority for me, I wanted to send him to one of the best preschools or play school franchises. And that’s when I found a QualityKG accredited preschool where teachers speak with students in both English and Mandarin Chinese (train your child in Mandarin – Check ✔).
The culture of early education in Korea:
In Seoul, parents take their child’s education fairly seriously. The early education system is powered by technology and Smartphone apps so that parents can keep tabs on their child’s activities and observe their academic growth and improvement in real-time.
What about the Montessori approach in Korea?
The Montessori model doesn’t sink well with the Koreans because Montessori model promotes individualism and that is something which doesn’t resonate well with the Korean culture. This is why traditional schools with the Montessori model have taken a back seat and revolutionary preschool development programs introduced by novel preschool accreditation agencies are running the show now.
Life of working mothers:
The working hours in South Korea are above the usual 9-to-5. Until the year 2004, they even had a 6-day workweek. Working mothers in Korea are exceptionally hardworking, and the dads even more so. “I remember once we were at my son’s pediatrician and he asked us how often we have our supper together, I asked him why he’s asking this. He said, in Korea dads hardly ever make it to the dinner table because of their late hours at work.” – Said Soo
Traditional you’ll find most moms to be stay-at-home moms in South Korea. Also, child rearing involves members of both immediate and extended family. The small yet significant group of working mothers gets plenty of help from their mothers, in-laws, siblings, friends and from preschool accreditation agencies like QualityKG.
In a nutshell:
Damaged by the civil war, South Korea was once endangered by a poor education system. However, in the past half century, they have turned around their preschool development programs drastically — and today with help of ingenious preschool accreditation standards like that of QualityKG preschool accreditation, South Korea is hailing globally for its tremendously soaring learning outcomes. The South Korean parenting and preschool education can be defined in 3 words – ‘Hard Work, Hard Work, Hard Work’.