This week as schools were opening I saw something that depressed me. As I was escorting my Class Eight niece to board a bus to school (she’s a boarder) I spotted children my daughter’s age (seven years) who are also boarders at the same school. These kids looked so innocent, confused and vulnerable; I wondered why their parents were sending them to boarding at such a tender age.
What had they done to deserve such mistreatment and punishment? I wondered.
I am no expert on early childhood development but what I do know for sure is that a Class One pupil is too young to be in a boarding school.
At that age, the child is still in a crucial stage where they need tender loving care from the parents and close monitoring because they are still young children.
I think as parents as much as we are too busy building our careers, sending our kids to boarding at such tender ages is doing the minors a disservice.
The logic maybe that it is better to leave them in a structured place than with house helps. But then again, it is a case of misplaced priorities when we send our small kids to boarding schools so that we can give undivided attention to our careers.
Parents may argue that the boarding schools are first class and that kids are well taken care off, but at that age kids need their parents in a big way for nurturing.
Parents who choose to send their children to boarding at that age are abdicating their responsibility and with time they will pay the price when the kids turn out delinquent later in life.
My daughter Tasha is in Class One and from what I see she is still too young to be left in the hands of a third party. She still needs close monitoring and direction.
I have to monitor her school progress every day, by checking her homework and being in regular touch with her teacher to ensure she is progressing well.
I need to see her everyday so that I can instill positive values in her like respect, hard work, compassion and godliness which will go a long way in molding her into a law abiding citizen.
I need to be in close touch with her so that I can answer all her baffling questions about things she may have encountered at school. I need to see her everyday so that I know how she is getting along with other students at school.
But clearly if I dump her in a boarding school at that tender age when she needs me, how will I know all these fundamental things?
How will I know that she is struggling with Mathematics and she needs extra help?
How I establish that she is poor in sciences when I have no opportunity to sign her diary and monitor her progress?
How will I establish she is picking a vice from a fellow classmate when I only see her after a full term? Parents we need to stop abdicating our responsibilities by shipping babies to boarding.