The Perfect Baby Blog

Only babies who can peel tangerines need apply

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

In certain Manhattanish parts of America, parents go nuts trying to get their toddlers into an elite preschool’s two’s or three’s program, a process that’s, at best, madcap and, at worst, soul-destroying. It could be worse.

tangerineIn Japan, you have to start much earlier, at least if you’re one of the notorious Kyoiku Mamas or “Education Moms” (women who literally do nothing but plot their children’s trajectory through the system and harass their teachers). Their goal is to have their kid crawling off to a quality pre-preschool before he’s 12 months old.

What constitutes quality? One Japanese headmaster claims that his pre-pre-institution nurtures and develops children’s natural curiosity through ”tangerine-peeling or the collecting and coloring of snow.”

I love that quote. Leave it to the inventors of origami to turn tangerine-peeling into a high-pressure, high-stakes rite of passage.

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Competitive crawling sweeps nation!
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