In just five weeks the boy will begin his pre-kindergarten class at a nearby school, marking the first step in his journey towards independence and socially-valuable competence. There is still a great deal for him to learn between now and the time he ventures out into the world on his own, but this first harrowing ordeal will give him a taste of what is to come in life. Reiko and I are both excited, nervous, and a little sad all at the same time. The boy is growing up so quickly.
Hopefully he will have a better time at kindergarten than I did1
From what Reiko and I have seen, the boy will have a curriculum that is quite similar to the ones that we had while growing up, despite the differences between the Japanese and Canadian systems. The boy will spend a great deal of time with creative exercises, such as painting, singing, drawing, and craftwork. There will be an emphasis on cooperation with classmates. The Hiragana and Katakana character sets will be introduced2 as well as basic math concepts, which he already knows. There will be an English lesson twice a week, which ought to be interesting given his existing knowledge of the language. This will be a good opportunity for him to learn more about the world, five hours a day.
How will the boy respond to being left in a room full of strangers, I wonder? Will there be tears? Will he have a tantrum? Will he not care and instead play with some classmates? I'm very curious to see him develop over the coming months and years.
Memory can be a fickle thing, but there are two generally uninteresting events that I remember from my own early educational career. The first was an experience in getting lost on account of colour blindness, which people did not know I had, and the second was standing against a wall and being as still as possible because everybody was talking nonsense. My mother enrolled me in a French-Immersion kindergarten in the hopes that I would be properly bilingual. I guess this is sort of accurate, though not in the languages my mother originally planned for.
The boy can already read both Hiragana and Katakana, as well as the 26 Roman characters. What he can't do just yet is put Roman characters to use to read words. He does this with Japanese characters, though.