For the past two years, Highlights has been publishing High Five magazine in China, written entirely in Chinese. Recently, during a visit to Changsha and Beijing I had the chance to observe the exciting and nerve-wracking experience of preparing kindergarten children to head off to school for the first time.
Even on the other side of the world, many school traditions felt familiar to me. In China, the school year starts September 1. Children ages 2 through 5 enter kindergarten/pre-school programs. The curriculum looks similar to many U.S. schools: reading, art, sports and more. Many schools also include language learning in both Chinese and English.
As part of my visit, I sat in on a kindergarten preparation class designed to help parents manage their expectations of and anxieties about bringing their children to school for the first time.
Tips from the class in China included:
Successfully manage the drop-off and pick-up transitions. (Give your children big hugs, introduce them to their teachers and leave promptly.)
Read to your children every day to help them create a love of reading.
Create an environment of love around your children as they grow, learn and experiment.
Play and interact with your children in meaningful ways.
Although this class was delivered in Changsha, China, entirely in Chinese, I was struck by how similar it—and the parents—were to those back in the United States. When my son and daughter were entering school for the first time, my wife and I worried about managing drop-off and pick-up. And we’ve always strived to read to our children and instill a sense of love and warmth in our home. Luckily, our local elementary here in Ohio offered a similar kindergarten introduction and expectation session, helping to ease our fears and guide us through such a momentous time.
What stories from the first day of kindergarten do you have to share? Whether they are from the U.S. or abroad, it will be interesting to see just how similar all our stories really are.
VP International, Highlights for Children