I remember clearly when Hannah had her first performance at her playgroup at the age of two and a half years old. It was DISASTROUS. I went there armed with cameras to record the special occasion but ended up with a wailing toddler in my arms. The moment we reached her playschool, she clung tightly onto me and refused to join her classmates. And she continued clinging onto me and sobbing from the start to the end of the performance. Lesson learned: To reduce separation anxiety from mommy (as her nanny was the person who had been fetching her to playschool), I should make it a point to fetch her to school as well.
So we have been sending Hannah to her school (a different one) on Mondays. Guess what, she tells me that she doesn’t like mommy to send her to school. Reason? She prefers taking the school bus. *long sigh* Anyway, the effort did pay off last Sunday. Hannah didn’t display separation anxiety from mommy on the day we sent her to Singapore Conference Hall for her kindy concert. Or perhaps her age was a contributing factor too?
After experiencing the whole shebang in preparing Hannah for her kindy concert, both Yang and myself agreed that involving very young children in concerts is economically unsound and requires too much logistics. (Unless the child is a prodigy of some sorts!) Sure, one does not dispute the fact that allowing young ones to perform in a song or dance fosters social skills and improves bodily coordination. However there are so many other ways that can achieve the same results and with better efficiency.
Here’s a little equation of Hannah’s recent dance performance:
$34 (costume – I think it looked rather unflattering on a little girl) + $50 (concert tickets; almost the most economical we could get) + $36 (cosmetics – as mommy doesn’t put on make-up so had to buy it) + $25 (professional photography as parents were discouraged from taking photos) = 5 minutes of glamour on stage = $145 of epiphany for us parents
On top of that, I was dismayed to learn that Hannah and her pre-nursery schoolmates were required to wear pull-up pants for their concert rehearsal and actual concert as there were too many kids (~300), too few toilets and probably insufficient time for teachers to bring them to the loo. Most kids have been toilet-trained and this method was either sending the wrong message or causing some kids to hold their bladders for hours before their parents arrive to fetch them home. FYI, the rehearsal lasted 7 hours and the concert nearly 4 hours.
Hannah and some of her classmates were positioned at the centre of the stage as they were the ones who could remember most of the dance routine. I noticed that there were some kids who appeared stunned and unsure during the performance. I wonder at the objective of putting these little ones and their parents through such an experience.
Did Hannah enjoy it? Of course. And she loved her big red bow and fancy leotard dress. Then again, she would be just as happy if not more with many other activities that are fuss-free and have honest value for money. Another lesson learned. We would probably take a break from future kindy concerts until she hits K2 – at least the meaning of ‘graduating’ from pre-school gives reason for celebration and lavish spending.
Hannah in a costume of the theme, sashaying about on stage.