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We are Huili | Empowering children through self-management

01 Jun 2022

The guest for today's We are Huili is Ms. Ye, whose daughter Cathy transferred to Huili School Hangzhou in grade 3 and is currently in grade 5. Cathy has a younger brother learning in EY3 at Huili Nursery Hangzhou and two cousins in grade 3 and EY2. In this article, Ms. Ye shared her thoughts about transferring from public school to Huili School Hangzhou and how the children and herself feel about the school. 



Cathy and his brother



Starting the journey with curiosity and aspiration



Cathy learned about Huili School Hangzhou from her cousin, who joined the school in its founding year. The more Cathy heard about the advanced facilities, such as the swimming pool, the library, the music room, the gym, and the ex-pat teachers with their exciting way of teaching, the more she was intrigued to become a Huili pupil. So, knowing that the school would live up to our expectations since its sister school in Shanghai already has a good reputation, and also recognising the importance of international communication because of what we do, we transferred Cathy to the school in grade 3 to start her immersive English learning journey as early as possible. Nowadays, Cathy, her brother and their two cousins cannot wait to go to school every day.


Cathy and her cousin at school


From knowing little English to participating in a bilingual speech contest



Huili teaches English in an immersive language environment. English is incorporated into all subjects besides Chinese, which means maths, science, music, art, PE and ICT are all taught in English. Cathy was not accustomed to this brand-new teaching model because she knew little English at that time. She said she even got confused with the letters B and D when she first started at Huili. As a result, she was overwhelmed in the first semester. Her English teacher said Cathy often looked a little lost in lessons.


Fortunately, the school acknowledges individual differences, and its group of highly-qualified teachers delivers differentiated teaching to meet each child’s needs and potential. Cathy gradually regained her self-confidence thanks to the guidance and encouragement from the school and the teachers. Diving into the flexible and dynamic lessons, she has quickly adapted to the new teaching style and is marching ahead day by day. Her English vocabulary has expanded rapidly due to her reading habit, and now she can apply the language to study other subjects. Being one of the top achievers in her class, Cathy has been elected by her classmates as the school’s Young Pioneers group leader and class representative. She has won several prizes in essay competitions at the city level and above and represented the school in a bilingual speech contest on the topic of the Asian Games in Hangzhou.


Cathy participated in speech competition 


Growing as an independent thinker and proactive explore


Cathy in class


The most significant change I see in Cathy is how independent and responsible she has become. Learning at Huili is enjoyable. Children are highly motivated because teachers stimulate their potential, incentivise their independent learning, and recognise and praise their every progress. They also acquire different problem-solving skills through group discussions and independent study, where the former provokes their thinking and helps them locate problems. The latter is achieved when they gather information and conduct experiments by themselves. This exploration process extends their horizon and undoubtedly lays a solid foundation for their future learning and research skills required in higher grades and at the university level.


Parenting: empowering children more to enhance their self-management


Cathy in school activities 


Transferring from a public school to Huili poses challenges to parents, with the difference in school-parent communication being the most significant challenge. In Cathy’s former school, we had a Wechat group chat where we received messages, clocked in at activities, and reported to the teachers. Parents are bound to miss some messages when inundated with too much information, and intense communication like this can become a formality burden. On the other hand, there is no denying that all-inclusive information sharing about their children’s performance at school makes parents more familiar with traditional education in China feel at ease. Things are different at Huili, where parent-teacher communication is mainly achieved through emails or sometimes T-chat for important information. I was not prepared for this. Seeing my daughter going to the school happy every day, we felt in a trance because we had no idea what Cathy was learning at school in detail. Without being bombarded with information, I had to try to let it go, which surprisingly strengthened her self-management skills. Gradually, she can organise her time well, complete school tasks independently, use the internet to search for information, recognise her shortcomings and learn to fill in the gaps. As parents, we are happy to see how far she has gone.



Improving physical and mental strength through sports


Cathy in PE class


Cathy cherishes the most about the school is the large variety of sports it offers daily, be it regular PE lessons or rich optional sports courses. It is what distinguishes it from public schools and also one of the reasons we chose Huili. Cathy is an athletic girl. She enjoys basketball, tennis and swimming. In grade 4, she won first place in the girls’ javelin competition on sports day. Years of exercise have honed both her physical and mental strength. As a grade 5 starter on the school football team, she played in various inter-and intra-school fixtures under the guidance of Mr. Witter. The honour, passion, friendship, cooperation and perseverance that the players embody on the football field will be a valuable asset to her.



Prospects: to become an independent and embrace challenges


Cathy in class


Of the five Huili values, the one we value the most is courage. We want our children to be independent and self-reliant because they will need to experience and enjoy their life journey ahead by themselves. We want her to be able to flourish in different environments, face the ever-changing world with courage, integrity and kindness, and embrace challenges fearlessly. This way, she can firmly forge ahead on the road to success.