“Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world. You can use it to change the world.”
Different soils and growth environments can cultivate different flowers, and the same flower requires different nutrients at different stages of growth. In order to comprehensively understand the needs of every child in their growth and provide them with the most suitable educational support, the “Parent Talk” at Xi’an Liangjiatan International School has emerged at the right time. In March, we invited 8 parents of middle school students to share with everyone the growth difficulties and solutions faced by children who are about to enter puberty. So, what are the developmental characteristics of primary school students and how should parents provide targeted guidance in accordance with their children’s growth patterns? In April, we welcomed 12 primary school parents to discuss their thoughts on parenting and valuable family education experiences with everyone.
The 1st Primary Parent Talk in 2023
Ms. Sandy Yao
P1 & P3 Parent
Topic: Lead Your Kid to Change the World
Ms. Sandy Yao has four children. Her eldest daughter is 18 years old and she is attending high school in the United States. Her youngest son is only four years old. When it comes to the education of four children, she first compared the differences between international schools and institutional schools from four aspects: teaching methods, the roles of teachers and parents, the cultivation of student’s English proficiency and critical thinking ability, and extracurricular activities. Based on her own experience, she explained the reasons for choosing international education firmly. In addition, she also mentioned that the emergence of ChatGPT will inevitably bring new changes to the cultivation of future talents. So, when education is overturned, what abilities do our children need to cultivate again? In Sandy’s opinion, creativity and problem-solving ability, interpersonal communication and communication ability, digital literacy and technical ability, and critical thinking ability are undoubtedly the necessary abilities for the new generation of global citizens to enter the world stage. These abilities will give them wings and lead them to be people who can change the world.
Ms. Yijie Chen
Topic: Supporting Children’s Self-Management Skills
Ms. Yijie Chen is the mother of a P3 boy and emphasizes that cultivating children’s self-management skills should start from two aspects – time management and social and emotional learning. In terms of time management, she advocates that parents should be “advisory” parents, providing necessary information support for their children, rather than directly making decisions for them. The focus is on awakening their children’s self-directed and self-control abilities, cultivating their sense of control over life, guiding them to learn to cherish their own time while also learning to respect others’ time. In terms of social and emotional learning, Ms. Yijie Chen emphasized the importance of “peer effect” and “team spirit” in building good interpersonal relationships. Through the story of “Oak and Reed”, she told everyone that in the process of social and emotional learning, it is first necessary to clarify what we can control and what we cannot control. Only by facing ourselves honestly can we gain the trust of our peers, thereby establishing healthy social and emotional relationships.
“Happiness is not something that others can give, but rather one’s own subjective experience.” This is Ms. Smith’s definition of happiness, based on which she believes that as parents, our mission is to help children find what they want. As an entrepreneur, Ms. Smith will permeate her son’s daily life with the reasons why parents need to work, guide her child to establish awareness of life ideals and goals, cultivate endogenous motivation for self-driven growth, and learn to pursue deep levels of happiness. “There are many regrets in life, and we can just follow in the footsteps of our children and do it again,” Ms. Smith said. That’s why lifelong learning becomes a lifelong lesson for parents. In the process of growing up with her children, she values the subtle influence of words and deeds on children and insists on letting them learn to observe the world with their own eyes, giving them the initiative, and giving them the opportunity to intern for their own lives!
Mr. Terren Maves
P2 & M2 Parent
Topic: My Experience as a Parent of Bilingual Children
Mr. Terren is from the United States, and his wife is Chinese. He has a lovely pair of mixed-ethnicity brothers. Cross-cultural international families naturally have the advantages of bilingual education, but how to stimulate children’s interest in learning languages in family education is also a subject of study. Mr. Terren shared that due to the influence of his family environment, his eldest son Reagan was able to understand English from a young age, but because he lived in China, he initially resisted speaking English. Once, Terren brought his family back to the United States to meet their loved ones, and the strong language atmosphere opened Reagan’s interest like a key. From then on, he not only fell in love with speaking English, but also became deeply fascinated by various English reading materials. After the birth of his youngest son Russel, under the influence of his brother, he became accustomed to bilingual communication from a young age and also loved reading. Mr. Terren said that although the two brothers have vastly different personalities, the older brother is introverted and quiet, while the younger brother is lively and talkative, sharing “reading time” is a daily convention in this family of four. As a father, Terren always believes that whether it is a bilingual international family or a monolingual family, cultivating children’s reading habits from a young age is the most effective way to gain a deeper understanding of a language.
Ms. Wendy Zhang
Topic: Practicing the IB Philosophy in Family Life
Ms. Wendy Zhang is a full-time mother who not only takes care of her two sons’ daily lives, but also considers the issue of their family education as her responsibility. In her sharing, she elaborated on the importance of the IB education concept for the healthy growth and development of kindergarten children from multiple aspects, such as supporting their learners’ dominant position, cultivating their reading habits, emphasizing sports and establishing a learning community. As a mother, she always maintains a consistent pace of learning with her children, constantly moving forward on the path of becoming an international diploma learner, and personally integrating IB education concepts into all aspects of family life.
The 2nd Primary Parent Talk in 2023
Mr. Xulin He
Topic: Stories from Earth’s History
What Mr. He brought was not so much a parenting sharing as a geography class presented to parents, which originated from a geography common sense that his daughter asked him one day after school. His sharing starts from two parts: Earth structure and biological interpretation, followed by in-depth thinking and exploration of the origin and evolution of life. His rich knowledge reserves and vivid narration have been repeatedly praised by the parents on site as greatly beneficial.
Ms. Rui Ma
Topic: Growing Up with Your Child
Ms. Rui Ma shared her parenting experience with a comparison of her son Marvin’s first day of school in 2015 and the two days before. Referring to her greatest experience in the past eight years of family education, she candidly stated that she should always prioritize the physical and mental health of her children and inspire their inner drive with respect and understanding. Later, she quoted the classic scene of a mother and daughter crossing the universe in this year’s Oscar best film Everything Everywhere All at Once and told the parents on the scene that at any time, parents should give their children unconditional love and permanent support. At the end, Ms. Rui Ma invited three parents to come on stage and recited the American poet Khalil Gibran’s prose poem “To the Child” in English, Chinese, and Korean. Parents were sincere, with their words flowing with the most sincere and simple love for their children, which moved many present listeners.
Ms. Ping Yu
Topic: Growing Up with Your Children and be Lifelong Learners
Ms. Ping Yu’s sharing revealed a point in parent-child relationships that is easily overlooked by parents, that is, the prerequisite for parents to educate their children is to first complete self-education and maintain self-improvement, in order to grow together with their children. She talked about how she fell in love with Xi’an Liangjiatan International School at first sight, how her children were ignited by IB education to learn, from the initial anxiety and confusion when encountering problems in family education, to keeping up with the pace of the school when conflicts arise, and finally letting the parents’ suspended heart land smoothly. Every time a problem is solved, it not only allows her to see the quietly changing things happening in her child, but when she looks at herself, she also finds that she has made significant progress.
Ms. Qingyi Xie
Topic: Self-management and Lifelong Learning
Even in the adult world, having stable emotions is a rare and precious quality, and in the growth process of teenagers, emotional fluctuations are inevitable. Learning to manage emotions is not an easy task, so what should parents do to help their children learn self-regulation? Ms. Qingyi Xie provides several practical suggestions for parents, including training their children’s prefrontal cortex, helping them develop the habit of recording emotions, getting more exposure to nature, developing good eating and habits, and ensuring sufficient sleep. As for time management, she mentioned the most important point – please allow children to “procrastinate”, cultivate their specific time concepts, adhere to the “5-minute principle”, and provide new ideas for parents present to help their children grow into time managers.
Ms. Karina Bittencourt
Topic: Family Experience on Education – Searching for the Best Version of Ourselves
Ms. Karina Bittencourt and her family are from Brazil and have been living in Xi’an for 6 months. However, as her child successfully attends our school, she admits that this has helped them quickly adapt to their foreign life. Her parenting sharing starts from her own country Brazil and its cultural aspects which, in their case, were mixed with the learnings of more than six years living in Czech Republic where they also chose for an IB school. She also spoke about the simple desire of parents, no matter from which cultural background they might be, seek the best education for their children. As well as her understanding of good education which would have as a good starting point an alignment between family’s values and school’s philosophy.
Mr. Kriss Parker
P2 & P6 Parent
Topic: Digital Devices for Kids
Mr. Kriss Parker, with the theme of “electronic products are a double-edged sword, guiding children to use them reasonably”, analyzed the impact of electronic products on family life from multiple dimensions such as children’s dependence on electronic products, potential risks in internet information, parents’ requirements for children, and children’s expectations for parents. This led to the core theme – what children truly want is not electronic products, but parents who can accompany them, and it is emphasized that parents should lead by example and set a good benchmark for their children in family education.
Ms. Hyojeong Kim
M1 & P5 Parent
Topic: Dream with Children
Ms. Hyojeong Kim, a Korean parent, introduced the concept of “appreciative inquiry” and shared her most valuable experiences in home education, including being brave enough to encourage children to explore and discover their interests, daring to dream, daring to set life goals, and having the determination to do everything possible to achieve their dreams. The world will make way for those with goals and foresight, “she always uses this sentence to motivate her son, and on the way to building dreams with her child, she is also constantly achieving herself.
I believe that the sincere and detailed sharing by parents will open a window for parents, help them summarize feasible experiences from commonalities, and bring them new perspectives and solutions. Our school’s “Parent Talk” activity has come to a successful end this semester. We cherish every opportunity to communicate with parents and respect the individual needs of children’s growth in different cultural backgrounds. In the future, we will actively organize various exchange activities to promote the linkage between family and school, striving to gain inspiration through exploration, find a way out through inspiration, enhance the cohesion between family and school, and promote the progress of family school education towards higher goals!
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Fancy Fan (Admin Officer)