Our children must follow whatever education system they enroll in, whether that’d be Singapore, US, UK, Australia, India, etc. Our children will have to get on the train like everyone else and take standardized exams. However, like the cartoon, we know the animal that is best at climbing the tree is not the one who is most likely to succeed in the wild. We also recognize that once our children leave the education system and enter the real world, the rules of the game is very different, especially if your child is to compete in the global arena. Grades, skills and talent are in no way the same. Having said that, focusing on academics is still inevitable. That is the conundrum we all face, and Little Sage was founded to resolve that.

As the management team of Little Sage were top students (and scholar), workers and eventually became leaders across multiple continents, we can relate well to this article. At our last open house, we gave a one hour seminar addressing the issues raised in this article. This article also resonates with our post on December 3, 2019 explaining why there aren’t more Singaporean CEOs and why many leaders are expats or “imported” from other countries.

At Little Sage, we go far beyond getting children ready for academics, but to build a solid foundation for skills useful in life anywhere in the world. Many preschools in Singapore claim they prepare children to be “globally ready” or “21st century ready.” We do much more than that. We prepare our children to be “globally competitive” as they become cream of the crop. To us, education is about piquing our children’s interest and opening up their minds early so that learning is lifelong. Learning should be a daily enjoyment and never a chore.

The author made two interesting points which we agree are necessary concepts to grasp regardless of where our children go in the world. “Make no mistake, the one thing that defines a great leader is failure; not success. And I think we, in Singapore, chronically get this upside down,” Through experiences and activities, Little Sage help children understand that 失败乃是成功之母 (Failure is the mother of success). Our children understands to get up means we must first fall.

“Leaders do not have to know how to do everything. They just have to know who can. For that, you do not need someone who has all A’s, you need something that is far more precious—imagination.” That is why we emphasize emotional intelligence as it is critical to long term success. At our seminar, we reminded parents to focus on helping our children imagine how to build a forest rather than merely planting the trees in front of them. Don’t just focus on the tangibles, such as grades and checklist, while overlooking the intangibles, such as mindset, character and EQ. If your child has EQ and a strategy to build a forest, the child will be able to gather people to plant trees for him/her. Like Jack Ma, he knew nothing about computers, but he knew one thing well – people.