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Independence is dú lì zì zhǔ (独立自主)

One of the first Chinese concepts I learnt in China is “dú lì 独立” or “being independent”.

I was then a mother of a 3 year old child. His preschool teacher assured me that it’s OK for my child to get on a school bus all on his own.

Can you believe that I actually let a 3 year old toddler ride a bus to his preschool, which was about 20 minutes away?

Of course, that was about five years ago…

Also, it was a good preschool with good teachers and a good security system.

Now? I would either enroll my daughter in a preschool that’s within 10 minutes walking distance or fetch her to a further preschool myself.

I want her to be independent but I also want her to be safe and sound.

At both preschools, the kiddos were shown how to:

i) take their food and drink from a common table

ii) feed themselves and finish their food 🙂

iii) return the crockery and cutlery to clearly-labeled bins (so Montessori!)

iv) wash their hands and wipe their faces with a wet towel

v) make their own beds after nap time

Elementary school

Many Chinese school children attend school for the whole day and some also board at a school hostel but they are allowed to go home for the weekends.

I have spoken to a few mothers about this and to them, it’s all a natural part of growing up in China.

College kids?

I had the opportunity to teach a class of business students and boy, were they a whole lot of fun!

Boisterous, cheeky and creative, they were a joy to teach!

What was fascinating is that their parents actually give them a sum of money to invest – either start a new business, buy shares and stocks etc.

I learned so much from them and am humbled by the fact that they were dealing in thousands of US dollars on a daily basis. Serious business.

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