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Ethics more important than knowledge in preschool

2013-05-17 16:33     Web Editor: Gu Liping comment
Kindergarten teachers listen to a lecture at the 2013 China International Preschool Education Forum on May 13, 2013. [Photo: Yuanhui]

Kindergarten teachers listen to a lecture at the 2013 China International Preschool Education Forum on May 13, 2013. [Photo: Yuanhui]

Preschool education plays a significant role in shaping children's future. Some Chinese experts and kindergarten teachers believe that more emphasis should be placed on developing good virtues than teaching knowledge to children in preschool.

What should small children learn before they go to primary school? Mathematics, nature, music or sports?

Now many Chinese families and kindergartens spend most of time teaching children various kinds of knowledge, but to some extent neglect to help them develop good ethics.

Professor Li Wenfu is a retired researcher at the Psychological Studies Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who has spent almost all her career studying child development psychology.

"Education has two parts - teaching knowledge and morality. These two parts are indispensable to form a complete human being. There's not enough morality education in the educational system of our country. The situation may be more serious after primary school, but it starts to exist in kindergarten, which is the biggest disadvantage of China's preschool education."

Fortunately, the government started to realize the problem in preschool education and placed more emphasis on setting up kindergartens of good educational quality in recent years, but Li Wenfu says it is not an easy goal to achieve because of various factors.

"The most important things are to understand correctly what is preschool education, which part of it we should emphasize, and whether we could let people really emphasize the nature of education or not. It's not a promotion which cannot be separated from business or making money. Otherwise, you can't provide good quality preschool education."

According to Li Wenfu, the key to the success of preschool ethics education is to develop competent kindergarten teachers, whose moral quality is more important than their certificates. Then they can be models for the children, influencing them gradually and imperceptibly.

However, kindergarten can only constitute one part of the necessary education. Education from parents or family is another part, which starts when a child is born and continues throughout his or her life.

Qiao Jianfang is a kindergarten teacher in north China's Shanxi Province, who usually cooperates with children's parents in her teaching.

"Actually, the parents can realize the problems of their children at home, so they will agree with us and support our job after we have some lectures or meetings to communicate with them."

Li Wenfu shares the same sentiment as Qiao. She also points out that parents should play a more important role than the government in their children's education.

"Don't just follow others because of social pressure. Your child is an individual case. Educate according to his or her own qualities. That's your responsibility. Don't just blame the government or the environment. Preschool education can be effectual only when everybody in the society emphasizes it."

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