One of the first concepts in Chinese philosophy 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
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.