What Our Parents Say
I used to be a workaholic in the traveling industry. But becoming Lemon’s mother slowed me down and taught me to look at the world with children’s eyes. I started traveling with Lemon ever since she was very little, and I always had my camera and paintbrush with me to capture our precious moments for Lemon’s Journey Log. When she reached age for school, I realized it’s time to think about her education.
This summer vacation we traveled with 8 other reader families to Finland and spent the entire summer in the arctic woods. Our children studied in a local school, and we were very happy to know that the world’s best education in a Finland primary school classroom, is found in BIBS too!
After coming home, I wrote down what I saw in Finland – A visit to a primary school in Finland, the world’s best education in my own eyes.
After reading the article many friends asked me which school Lemon is in, and what does BIBS look like to me.
The questions brought me back to 10 years ago, where my own BIBS story began.
Ten years ago, I was a total workaholic. No child, no life, and the only time-off was the 30 minutes swim every day during lunch break.
At that time the kids from the kindergarten next door took swimming class in the same pool. One day I was there early and saw the children changing their clothes quietly, and they left with a clean changing room after saying ‘sorry for the inconveniences’ to me.
I was more than shocked that there was no screaming, giggling or mess, and asked my co-worker which kindergarten it was.
And the answer was: Beanstalk International Kindergarten.
It was the year Lemon started kindergarten. Because of the nice surprise in the swimming pool locker, I did not think of any other option but the not-too-close-to-home BIK.
I knew what I wanted for Lemon. She can be brilliant or normal in the future, but must be sensible and thoughtful like I witness in that locker.
Three years at BIK, we have been so luck to meet the great teachers.
When Lemon didn’t eat well, dorm teacher was more worried than me.
In the summer trip, homeroom teacher asked the children to rest on the picnic mat and fanned them, and made the joke that she was roasting human BBQ and the kids must rotate themselves.
Everyday Lemon went to school with a ponytail and came home with a half-up. One time her teacher even made blossom in the evening for the girls.
When the kids started learning music instruments, the teachers planned their own musical. They chose the music, printed tickets, made seating arrangements and set the stage. Seeing how serious Lemon was for the preparation, I was very grateful that BIK had offered the children a free, positive and creative learning environment.
These fond memories will last for a very long time. As Lemon said during the last kindergarten year: I want to be with Beanstalk, and I don’t want to go anywhere else.
Elementary school was a bigger decision which I did not make right away. Going to a public school, international school or a modern education school… I made intensive investigation and comparisons.
If interested in the details, please refer to my WeChat blog Public? International or Modern Education? My visit to 3 Beijing top schools with my daughter.
I didn’t agree with the standard systematic education program or the modern education concept, and it was Principal Nathan’s statement that helped me make up my mind: What is education? The world is changing so rapidly that no one know what the future holds, and what knowledge is required. Yet we want our students to have the capability of continuous learning, trouble shooting and problem-solving, to face the challenges to come. This is more important than acquiring one skill.
I couldn’t agree more, as this is what education should look like. So, I decided to keep Lemon in BIBS.
Fast enough, Lemon is now a G2 student in the nicely equipped new Changying Campus, and we are well adapted to the BIBS rhythm.
Interestingly, I found that BIBS has heavier academic pressure than many public and international schools. This is because the Changying campus is well balanced on Chinese and English teaching, where the Chinese language part is adopted from the National Education Program like public schools in Chaoyang district, and the English part follows IPC curriculum, enabling language learning and inquiry-based project learning in parallel. I’d like to believe Lemon is learning twice the public does.
But we were not concerned about her studying. It is all about setting the goal, finding the pace, and hard working.
After this summer’s Finland trip, I understand BIBS and the teachers even more:
- During lower grades Chinese teachers teach Chinese language and mathematics in the meantime, which is an advanced educational concept of fusion and balance.
- Ensure enough physical exercises every day, not only as a skill but simply also aiming for children’s well-being.
- Encourage and guide children to observe, think and express freely.
- Blend international educational concepts into Chinese teaching, which provides confidence to parents like myself for letting our children study in China.
Now you can see the loving BIBS too through these little things.
There is such thing as a perfect school as every child is unique, as their needs are different. But trust me, school, parents and children are no enemies. They work with and depend on each other.
I like BIBS for being a community school, where teachers, parents and students trust, understand, share and communicate, finding the best position for everyone in it.
As a parent, instead of pursuing the perfect education fantasy, I prefer to trust the school more and work with the teachers.
Be a BIBS student, wear the same school uniform, from a baby to a big girl… For Lemon, it must mean happiness.