Raising a child in Korea is tough, with skyrocketing private education costs, nationwide standards for acquiring fluent English skills and competition for elite schools growing fiercer by the year. On top of it, parents are entrusted with the daunting task of determining the field of study for their children.
“I don’t know what my son is interested in, or what he is good at. I felt through various experiences that he and I could together discover where his interest or talents lie,” said a 37-year-old housewife surnamed Oh.
For this purpose, she signed up for Herald Project Dream Big, hosted by Herald Corporation, the parent company of The Korea Herald. The event was held Sunday at the Seoul English Village campus in Gwanak, and hosted a series of education programs aimed at sparking creativeness among preschoolers and preteens while assisting the children’s first steps in their career path.
|Kids look at a performance by a teacher during the Herald Project, dubbed “Dream Big,” at the corporation’s English Village Campus in Nakseongdae-dong, Gwanak district, Seoul. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)|
The project features a wide range of programs, from cooking classes and magic trick classes assisted by English-speaking teachers to easy-approach business classes using simple games and competition. Some 200 children and parents took part in the programs.
“Look! It’s shaped like a heart!” exclaimed a 5-year-old girl tending to her flowerpot.
“I made this! Mom, look,” a 6-year-old boy told his mother, boasting a newly made soap.
The organizers were cautious not to turn this opportunity into another massive private instatement for young children. Yang Yeong-sun, an official from Herald Corporation, said they focused on operating various programs that do not exist anywhere else.
The next phase of the Dream Big project is to hold the event on a weekly basis, she said. The next event will be held on June 15 at Seoul English Village’s Pungnap campus in western Seoul.
The event extends beyond just fun for the youngsters. The parents sought expert advice on how their children would cope with school life.
“I failed to sign up for it this time, but the psychological test was what I’ve really looked forward to. I want to know if he is likely to be bullied in school, the sort of things going on his mind right now,” said 37-year-old Choi Hyung-shik.
Jung Jae-ra, who conducted psychological tests on the children, said her test focuses on identifying a child’s interest and character, and guiding the parents on what would be most effective for the child in the future.
“Understanding oneself is really the first step in deciding on a career path,” she said.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)