China’s yuppies want schools to be more laid-back

WITH a postgraduate degree in literature, Ruby Li has ridden China’s education system almost to the top. Now a mother-of-two living in Chengdu, a city in the south-west, she hopes to spare her children the high pressure and long hours of homework that she endured at their age. Some years ago Ms Li and her husband, a businessman, moved their elder son from a conventional kindergarten to another one that uses less formal and rigid methods of teaching. She says that since then he has been happier and healthier, and their home life more harmonious, too.

Ms Li is among the well-heeled parents who send their children to Chengdu Waldorf School, a fee-paying institution inspired by the quirky philosophies of Rudolf Steiner, an early-20th-century Austrian educationalist. The school (pictured) aims to teach in creative ways, says Zhang Li, one of its founders. That means plenty of music, storytelling and play. The campus is scruffy but cheerful, boasting an ink-stained calligraphy studio and a…Continue reading


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