Have you had a child go to these private nursery schools? You will connect with what I am about to draw a lesson from. I also want to invite those of you who may not have sent a child to private nursery schools to learn from this experience. I believe what they teach in nursery school has life-long importance that we can only forget at our own peril.
Presently, children bring in their own food and drinks. It is no longer milk-school (sukulu ya mkaka) as was the case in the past. Kindergartens of 1980s and 1970s were schools where children drank milk as if it was nobody’s business. In today’s Malawi, children bring in sobo, kamba, crisps and similar foods. I am not going to talk about the nutritional value of these foods. That is for another day.
Children at kindergarten sing songs, recognise and colour different shapes. This takes the whole term. The following term, they start off with identifying some patterns and recognising their breakdown. Can you recognise a pattern when you see it?
As a parent or guardian who may have paid dearly for kindergarten tuition, you may have felt annoyed, if not angry. It is because you did not get the point. Shapes, shapes and shapes. Is this all that I paid for? Yes, this is what you paid for. It is the different shapes and the patterns that you paid for. The reason they teach your child shapes and patterns is so they develop skills to recognise the shapes and patterns.
I don’t know about you. For me however, when I heard President Peter Mutharika hired Atupele Muluzi as Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Minister, I wondered whether a pattern I have seen before was unfolding. Then I heard former President Bakili Muluzi had paid a courtesy call on Mutharika. Then I saw a picture in a newspaper of Mutharika sitting beside Atupele while Saulos Chilima sat behind these two. Strange? Yes you are right. This was strange, but not strange if your kindergarten spirit is still around. Remember the shapes and patterns? This pattern seems obvious doesn’t it? The curse of vice presidents?