March 2017. My daughter just started elementary school. The school is a five-minute walk from our home. This is her first public school, which means she’s now assimilated into the Korean public education system. Not that she never attended school before age six. She received four years of early childhood education, starting from when she was two. She went to a private nursery for two years, then a private kindergarten for another two. Of course, I had to pay a considerable amount every month. Did I choose a private school because I didn’t trust the Korean public education system? No, that wasn’t it.
I applied to a public nursery when my daughter turned one. People asked me why I was so late. All the reputable places had a backlog of applications. I waited for them to contact me until she turned two, but the call never came. In the meantime, I had to work on my writing.
While I worked, I entrusted my daughter to a babysitter. The situation worsened after my second child was born. Left with no choice, I enrolled my daughter in a private nursery. The curriculum included daily Korean and counting classes, and twice-a-week English lessons. She learned Korean and picked up simple English words and greetings.