In September 2022, before her daughter entered the first class of kindergarten, Xu Xing (pseudonym), a parent born in the 1980s, faced a difficult choice that almost all parents of "quasi-primary school students" must make: Should they send their children to a kindergarten transition class?

  This Beijing mother inquired about several kindergarten transitional institutions and found that there are roughly three types of class modes: either "dropping out" from kindergarten and directly attending a "full-time" kindergarten transitional class, or attending classes every day after kindergarten, or attending classes on weekends.

  Xu Xing's friend enrolled his child in a kindergarten connection institution that offers classes on weekends. Xu Xing heard that in order to use the weekend to catch up on the full-year courses, the children had a full schedule on the two weekends, from early morning to late evening. Such intensity of study made Xu Xing hesitate.

  In March 2021, the Ministry of Education issued the "Guiding Opinions on Vigorously Promoting the Scientific Connection between Kindergartens and Primary Schools" (hereinafter referred to as the "Guiding Opinions"), which stated that "off-campus training institutions shall not train preschool children in violation of regulations" and "kindergartens shall not teach in advance "Primary school curriculum content" "Primary schools strictly implement exam-free admission to nearby schools... insist on teaching from scratch according to curriculum standards."

  It has been nearly three years since this "Guiding Opinions" was issued, but in practice, some teachers and parents still face confusion during the transition period.

  Parents’ Anxiety: It’s Too Difficult to Enter School from “Zero Starting Point”

  In the professional definition, "child-school transition" covers many aspects: helping children understand primary school life and be mentally prepared for primary school; cultivating regular work and rest, self-care ability, and being prepared for life; encouraging children to make new friends and independently complete teacher assignments tasks, be prepared for society; be prepared for learning.

  In order to ensure a good connection between kindergarten and primary school, starting from 2021, related policies and supporting documents will be released one after another:

  The "Guidance Opinions" issued in March 2021 require "slowing down the teaching progress of first grade" and also clearly stipulates that "primary schools will set the first semester of first grade as the enrollment adaptation period and focus on implementing enrollment adaptation education";

  Subsequently, the "Opinions on Further Reducing the Homework Burden and Off-Campus Training Burden of Students in Compulsory Education" issued by the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the General Office of the State Council in July 2021 also clearly stipulates: "Schools must ensure that the first and second grades of primary schools do not assign written homework at home. , appropriate arrangements can be made for consolidation exercises in school”;

  At the end of August 2021, the "Notice on Strengthening the Examination Management of Compulsory Education Schools" issued by the General Office of the Ministry of Education clearly requires that "paper-based examinations will not be conducted in the first and second grades of primary schools."

  However, surveys by many scholars have found that parents in the "junior-to-primary transition" stage generally have anxiety: they are worried that other children have learned in advance and the teacher will teach too quickly; they are worried that their children will not be able to keep up with the progress, which will lead to an inferiority complex and a dislike of learning. .

  For many parents, it is difficult to truly enroll their children in school from scratch.

  It was not easy for Xu Xing to make the decision not to enroll her daughter in a kindergarten transitional class: children in Beijing generally "jump ahead". When Xu Xing's daughter went to kindergarten in Haidian District, she was the only child in the class who did not enroll in extracurricular classes. It is difficult for my daughter to find playmates after school every day. Some children in the class attend remedial classes and some attend various interest classes. Xu Xing heard that there was a little boy who was particularly "curious" and often studied until 11 o'clock at night.

  But she doesn’t plan to let her children enter school from scratch: “How can you go to first grade without knowing a word?” She has taken her children to learn all the popular kindergarten bridging books on the market, and also taught them by the way. Learned English phonics.

  Xu Xing is mentally prepared to accompany her children to catch up on their teaching progress after school starts. "The progress is really fast. You learn one lesson a day. If you don't study in advance, you have to work hard after class." It is true that the school does not assign written homework, but in order to ensure that her daughter can keep up with the teacher's progress, Xu Xing assigns some homework to her daughter and spends weekends with her. Children practice calligraphy and tracing red.

  Parent Liu Nan (pseudonym) also experienced similar struggles. In 2022, when her child was in a large class in a kindergarten in Chongqing, the teacher reminded her that pinyin and arithmetic could not be taught in the kindergarten, but parents had to teach their children themselves, otherwise the elementary school would not be able to keep up.

  Liu Nan rejected the teacher's suggestion. She worked as a primary school Chinese teacher. “There is only so much content in primary school, so there is no need to spend so much time learning in advance.”

  But Liu Nan doesn't want her children to go to school "naked". She will teach her children how to read while reading picture books at night. Before the child goes to elementary school in September 2023, he will take about 10 hours of writing lessons. What reassures her is that the child likes to draw and has good pen control skills.

  In the first half of 2021, Hong Xiumin, a professor at the Institute of Preschool Education, Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University, led a team to select 5 provinces in the east, central, and west, targeting children, families, teachers, kindergartens, primary schools, and administrative departments in the transition from kindergarten to primary school. Seven major entities including 7 major entities conducted a questionnaire survey covering more than 50,000 people. The survey found that kindergarten parents pay too much attention to their children's academic performance and engage in "jump-start" behavior in education. For example, nearly 70% of parents reduce children's game time to increase study time, and nearly 80% of parents teach children pinyin and arithmetic at home.

  On social media, parents who have been through it have left many “advice” posts: they must not let their children “run naked” to elementary school, and they must learn in advance. The "history of blood and tears" described by many parents still focuses on learning tasks: children will write simple homework until 10 or 11 o'clock in the evening; children make many mistakes in dictation and homework, and parents are constantly called out by teachers in the parent group. Criticism or private message criticism is very stressful...

  Teacher’s confusion: “starting points” are uneven

  Faced with the "zero starting point" teaching requirements, many first-year teachers are also a little confused.

  A survey of first-grade primary school teachers in Beijing found that one of the issues teachers are most concerned about is: children in the class have different starting points. How to teach according to the "differences" in students' learning situations?

  Lin Fen (pseudonym) has more than 20 years of teaching experience and teaches Chinese in a primary school in a county in Guizhou. She also encountered the same problem.

  Nowadays, primary school curriculum is rich, and the amount of traditional "main subjects" such as Chinese and mathematics has been relatively reduced. Lin Fen told reporters that the primary school in her county only has five Chinese classes per week, and sometimes she has to learn a new lesson a day. In her class, most of the children entered school with almost zero basic knowledge and struggled to learn.

  In the minds of ordinary people, transition from childhood to primary school still means "learning in advance." Searching for "junior-to-primary school connection" on social media platforms, most of the content is "Daily practice arithmetic", "accompanying children to practice pinyin", "what to learn for early-to-primary school connection", etc. Even paper publications are not immune.

  There are many good and bad bridging institutions on the market. Many teachers are not professional enough and even teach the wrong knowledge. Lin Fen said that after children learn wrong knowledge, it is difficult to correct them. "It is better not to learn." During class, she also found that children who had studied in advance were easily distracted in class. "He had learned a lot and thought he knew it, so he didn't listen carefully in class."

  Children's behavior is even more troublesome for some first-year teachers.

  Li Juan, director of the Preschool Teaching Department of Wenzhou University, has been doing research on preschool education for more than 20 years. She often hears complaints from primary school teachers during meetings: After entering primary school, students eat lunch at school, and some children take more than an hour to eat, and the food is left in a mess on the floor. There are also those who have lost their school uniforms, their textbooks, their notebooks... A first-year primary school teacher always picks up a bunch of things, but every child shakes his head and says they are not theirs.

  Another headache for many teachers is the "baton" of exams.

  After the new semester in the fall of 2021, the Ministry of Education clearly requires that "paper-based examinations will not be conducted in the first and second grades of elementary school." However, Lin Fen's first and second grade of elementary school will still have to hold exams. Lin Fen said that local schools use purchased test papers, and this set of test papers is too difficult. She remembered that in the poem "White hair floating on green water", the textbook required the word "white" with a relatively simple structure, but the test question required students to write the word "green" - which exceeded the requirements of the textbook. Some test questions were so difficult that the children in Lin Fen's class were even "annihilated."

  A senior education person analyzed: low test scores not only dampen children's enthusiasm for learning, but also directly affect teachers' performance and qualifications; and under the pressure of assessment, teachers have to regard academic performance as the main goal, and it is even more difficult to take into account " "Admission adjustment period".

  "Research on the Conflict and Coordination of Home-school-Kindergarten Education Conflict under the Orientation of Children's Growth" by Dr. Yu Wen, a senior teacher at the Wuhan Institute of Educational Sciences, is a key project of the Ministry of Education in 2022. During her research in primary schools in the past two years, she found: “The new curriculum standards have put forward special requirements for how primary schools can help children make a smooth transition from kindergarten to primary school. For the first time, it has been clarified that primary schools should include children’s admission adaptation into the teaching content of first and second grade, and from Course arrangements, learning content, learning methods, etc. are all integrated. Especially in course design, we focus on activities, games and life.”

  She found that front-line teachers still encountered some confusion during the implementation of the new curriculum standards. For example, the Chinese textbook for the first grade of primary school has 8 units, and many front-line Chinese teachers serve as class teachers. The workload is heavy and the teaching tasks are saturated, making it difficult to effectively implement the new students’ adaptation education.

  Xiao Ke (pseudonym), a primary school teacher in a township in Zhejiang Province, told reporters that he has almost no free time during the day on working days - the children in the class are "polarized", with some children learning a lot in advance, while some parents "lay flat" , he must seize time between classes, activities, etc. to help children with poor foundation make up lessons.

  During the survey, Hong Xiumin's team also placed special emphasis on teachers' competence in connecting kindergarten to primary school. "In the past, in the pre-entry training and post-entry training of teachers, there was actually no content specifically focusing on transition from kindergarten to primary school, zero-start teaching in primary school, and preparation for kindergarten entry."

  Hong Xiumin believes: "All parties report 'difficulty', which is related to the inertia of the past. Everyone is changing their ideas. Compared with the pursuit of knowledge quantity and progress in the past, now more emphasis is placed on cultivating behavioral habits and learning quality. Currently, there are already There have been many positive changes.”

  Children's needs: How to adapt to the "young-to-young transition"

  In recent years, Li Juan has taken the National Social Science Fund project as an opportunity to conduct in-depth research on the connection between kindergarten and primary school.

  She asked more than 100 primary school freshmen who had been in school for two months to draw pictures, allowing the children to use pictures to express their kindergarten life and primary school life. On the left side of the screen is a kindergarten with rich content, including outdoor games, singing and dancing, and building blocks. On the picture, both the teacher and the children were smiling, and some children drew rainbows. On the right side of the picture, the children's drawings of primary school life are similar: in the classroom, the teacher points to the blackboard and lectures. Some children draw dark clouds and rain, which express a lower mood.

  When children enter primary school, the environment they face and the relationship between teachers and students undergo major changes.

  Most kindergartens are filled with handicrafts and photos of children and teachers, and they are colorful everywhere. For children who have just entered primary school from kindergarten, the environment in primary school is a bit "hard" and not very warm.

  In the kindergarten, two kindergarten teachers and one childcare worker are with the children almost all the time, and the children are used to getting along closely with the teachers. But the primary school teacher returned to his office after class and "the child couldn't find the teacher."

  In addition, a study that analyzed the "junction between early childhood and primary school" from the perspective of children found that "learning" only occupies a small part of children's concerns when faced with the change of going to primary school. They are more worried that the new teachers in primary school will be strict and worried. I have no new friends and am worried about not being able to find a toilet in my new school. Children's learning anxiety about going to primary school mainly comes from their parents.

  Li Juan's empirical research also verified this.

  In April and May 2021, Li Juan distributed questionnaires to more than 800 parents to understand the relationship between parents’ anxiety and children’s anxiety. She found that compared with children in kindergarten, primary school students’ anxiety increased sharply, and it was different from that of their parents. Anxiety levels were significantly related.

  What worries Li Juan even more is that parents with lower educational levels have more serious educational anxiety, but they do not know how to communicate with school and kindergarten teachers, and the quality of their companionship needs to be improved.

  Xu Xing has also seen the anxiety and uncertainty of many parents: "Today I think, 'I need to give my children a good childhood.' Tomorrow when I see other people's children are so good, I think, 'No, no, no, I still have to learn.'" Xu Xing is relatively calm. : "There is no end to the 'rolling'. This child knows 300 words, and that child knows 800 words. Just set a goal and let the children only compare with themselves."

  Yu Wen believes that every child’s growth rhythm is different. "Currently, in the transition stage from primary school to primary school, many parents blindly pursue speed and efficiency, mistakenly use 'comparison with peers' as a yardstick, and paranoidly expect their children to learn everything immediately and learn better than their peers. Otherwise, they will arbitrarily Conclusion: 'It is difficult for children to adapt to primary school'."

  She said sincerely: "When parents let go of these obsessions, truly pay attention to their children's needs in the early childhood transition stage, and follow their own rhythm, the results will really be different."

  The consequences of "jumping the gun": Encountering the "turning point in third grade"

  Li Juan's eldest daughter did not learn elementary school knowledge in advance before going to elementary school. After school started, her writing and mental arithmetic speed could not keep up.

  But Li Juan does not think that children are "streaking" into school. "We pay more attention to children's ability to take care of themselves and make friends, etc."

  When her daughter was in the first or second grade, she struggled to learn. Li Juan often received private messages of encouragement from her child's class teacher. But Li Juan clearly felt that by the third grade, her daughter was learning much more easily, and it became less strenuous for her to tutor her daughter with homework.

  When my eldest daughter was in the third grade, several children in the class who were not doing well in class were asked by their parents. After hearing the names of those children, Li Juan asked her daughter: "Didn't they study very well and were often praised when they were in first or second grade?"

  Her daughter told her that these classmates did not listen in class.

  Li Juan suddenly realized. Empirical research in the academic community has long proven that children with poor study habits will have lower grades when they enter third or fourth grade. This is the famous "third-grade turning point." However, children who have studied in advance are used to not paying attention in class, and their grades begin to decline in the third and fourth grades, which "completely confirms this research."

  But before children from "zero starting point" can usher in the "dawn", the determination of parents will be particularly tested.

  Many years ago, when Yu Wen's son first entered elementary school, she also experienced the first two months of "trembling with fear". I remember one time, my son came home dejectedly after school with a mental arithmetic test paper that only scored more than 70 points. Seeing this scene, Yu Wen's husband took the test paper, analyzed it with the child, and said with relief: "Look, this question is correct! This question is also correct!" At this time, Yu Wen gently discussed with the child: " Can you practice the wrong questions again on the weekend?" The child nodded fiercely and actively asked for training on the wrong questions on the weekend.

  Yu Wen believes: “This incident fully demonstrates that every child hopes to be excellent. We must believe in children’s positive expectations for elementary school, instead of doubting children’s abilities in all aspects whenever they encounter setbacks.”

  Correct “opening method”: collaborative efforts between home and school

  In 2021, after the promulgation of the "Guiding Opinions", it caused heated discussions online. Li Juan believes, "This policy is very good, and it has some very practical content." She conducted a content analysis of the comments in the comment area. This paper published in the magazine "Preschool Education Research" pointed out that the public does not understand the content of the policy very well. , still full of anxiety about the connection between childhood and childhood.

  As a professional preschool education researcher, Li Juan is often invited to participate in meetings involving all relevant parties involved in early childhood education. It was inevitable to blame each other at the meeting: "Because primary school teaches quickly, we in kindergarten learn early" and "Because kindergarten teaches early, so we teach quickly."

  "The accusations are as tangled as a ball of string," she said.

  During the process of participating in joint teaching research and meetings and discussions between kindergartens and primary schools, Li Juan felt: "The issue of kindergarten connection is very complicated. It is unclear who is the cause and who is the effect, and the government may be the breakthrough point in this problem."

  After the "Guiding Opinions" was released, some provinces and prefecture-level cities also issued localization policies. Li Juan's statistics found that there were more than 40 local documents in total. What makes her happy is that the provinces pay great attention to "ecosystemic" approach. “In the past, kindergartens moved unilaterally towards primary schools, but now primary schools are also taking action.”

  After analyzing more than 40 local policy documents, Li Juan found that more than half of the documents mentioned "authoritative governance", but only a small number of documents provided guidance on capacity building. She believes that the government should pay more attention to its guidance function, "for example, how to construct an adapted curriculum for admission and how to focus on joint teaching and research."

  Li Juan believes that efforts should be made in two aspects: further improving the first-grade textbooks, deleting content and reducing difficulty; in addition, constructing "admission adaptive courses" based on existing courses and integrating the content of adaptive courses into existing courses. in some textbooks.

  In Wenzhou City, Zhejiang Province, the top leaders of the regional education bureaus personally serve as leaders of the kindergarten-to-school transition working group. The Wenzhou City Preschool Education Guidance Center has mobilized teacher trainers (responsible for training teachers) and teaching researchers (responsible for teaching research) to participate in kindergarten-to-school transition work groups. Connecting. Chen Miao, the director of this guidance center, has served as a front-line teacher, principal, and teaching researcher. He has rich experience and a better understanding of the needs of front-line teachers.

  The "Guiding Opinions" also mentioned that kindergarten teachers and primary school teachers should "jointly teach and research."

  Hong Xiumin believes that it is necessary for teachers in the two school stages to establish two-way connection training and conduct centralized and regular "consultations." "For example, in September, kindergarten teachers go to the first-grade classroom to see the classroom performance, so they know better what preparations they should make in the large class. In May and June, primary school teachers go to kindergartens for observation so that they can truly realize the children’s development and possible physical and mental challenges.”

  Li Juan said that in Wenzhou City, the government holds a kindergarten-to-school connection promotion meeting every year, with kindergartens, primary schools, university scholars, education administrators and other parties participating in the meeting.

  When she participated in on-site promotion meetings for joint teaching and research, she often heard primary school teachers complain that first-year students were not very focused and did not know how to listen.

  During a joint teaching and research project to "measure how far a 'frog jump' can jump," primary school teachers discovered that children were very interested and attentive when doing it themselves. In traditional primary school teaching, most of it is a "one-man show" for teachers, which is not situational, operable, and playful enough, and children's attention is easily distracted.

  In joint teaching and research activities, primary school teachers improved their understanding of children. Some primary school teachers also learn from kindergarten teachers and use turntables, stickers and other hands-on methods to attract children to learn the more boring Pinyin.

  In Wenzhou, some kindergartens and primary schools that are relatively close to each other form "hand-in-hand schools". "More than half of the children are promoted from this kindergarten to this primary school," and they interact more frequently.

  Li Juan felt that “teachers actually have the inner motivation to do this (connection between kindergarten and primary school).” "Kindergarten teachers are very happy, because in the past, kindergartens were 'attached' to primary schools in one direction." When the local assessment of primary school work, "connection between kindergarten and primary school" is also an important assessment content.

  Li Juan saw that some primary schools began to take the initiative to arrange the environment in a way that children are accustomed to: hanging photos of children participating in activities in the classroom, setting up a small comfortable area in the corridor outside the classroom, putting soft seats, books, and children's recess You can sit and read a book.

  Some teachers began to try to reform teaching methods. Li Juan told reporters that a senior Chinese teaching researcher in Yongjia County, Wenzhou City, led primary school Chinese teachers to make a reform. The children who had just entered first grade did not know much about literacy and liked to read pictures. The teacher chose some picture books for the children based on themes such as "I am Chinese" in primary school textbooks. Music classes and art classes are also conducted around the same theme (self-introduction), such as singing name songs, making your own business cards, etc. This teaching method is exactly similar to the theme-based activities commonly used in kindergartens.

  Li Juan believes: "If teachers slow down in class and parents spread the word that 'you can keep up without learning in advance,' the education ecosystem will slowly change."

  In Hong Xiumin's view: "Kindergarten and primary school teachers have a relatively scientific concept of transition from kindergarten to primary school. They should work together to help parents change their concepts and reassure them that even if they do not enroll in classes outside or put pressure on their children, their children can adapt well." Well, growing up nicely.”

  Hong Xiumin said that in the first semester of first grade or at the beginning of school, especially in the first two months, there should be no unified requirements for teachers’ teaching progress, but focus on guiding teachers to pay more attention to the adjustment of new students to school, so that children can like and adapt to primary school. , get to know your classmates and practice your self-care ability. "Teachers all follow the evaluation indicators. They use assessments to guide them. A single move affects the whole body."

  She said: "Every aspect of education is changing, including the new curriculum standards for basic education, the high school entrance examination, and the college entrance examination. All aspects of this 'baton' pay more attention to quality education and children's ability to explore knowledge. We no longer pursue the speed and amount of knowledge mastered, but make children interested in exploring the unknown and willing to continue to work hard. This requires the coordinated efforts of families, kindergartens, and schools."

  China Youth Daily·China Youth Daily reporter Li Yajuan Source: China Youth Daily