What is an Enrichment Zone?
To me, enrichment sounds like something you do to bread with a few eggs and extra butter. In Singapore, it’s what you do to your kids to make the best use of their spare time.
“Enrichment” classes are everywhere, and in recent years, whole floors of shopping malls have been taken over by rows of enrichment centres offering everything from academic tuition to arts, music and sports – hence the term Enrichment Zone.
It’s hard to walk past without feeling a little overwhelmed by the faces of smiling, clever children on shiny posters designed to feed your parental insecurities.
Love this one which even claims to turn your child into a Genius with an Outstanding Personality. Looks like kids are just doing tangrams, but what do I know?
Round the corner from the enrichment centres are bookshops with large departments of assessment papers like this:
You know, I didn’t even notice this knock-yourself-out-with-revision-books section when I lived here before! Now that I have a child on the cusp of entering a local primary school, I have nervously riffled through these aisles. I particularly like how the poster in the middle says ‘School Holiday Promotion’. Now let’s see sweetheart, which delightful titles shall we pick up for your holiday reading this year? 1001 Fun Mathematics Drills?
It’s all quite amusing to me now but will I be having to seriously consider jumping on the bandwagon once school starts? Is it possible to get through school unscathed without all this? Or will we be spending our future afternoons, evenings and weekends in the Enrichment Zone? Cue scary music.