As a former school director and education researcher I often think about what we need to teach our children. To me, the 4 C’s that are Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity are essential skills to equip our children with for today’s and even tomorrow’s world too. But we need to go even further than that by teaching our children a fifth C: Compassion.
This point culminated during my recent visit to China to an art education project in a school for migrant workers’ children in one of Beijing’s outer rings, Beijing Shijingshan Cement Factory Elementary School, through a program called “Enlightenment of Love.” The project received support from Sun Future Art Education Foundation which bases itself on the belief that “Art Education Makes Good People,” and aims to help children grow both heart and mind. I was impressed by the teachers’ focus on exploration and innovation through aesthetics and photography, particularly as a way to build identity and encourage love and compassion among their students who predominantly came from disadvantaged families.
The class was working on a unit called “I love home” and the day’s topic, “Love between family members,” focused on the actions of family members to express love. Mrs. Gong, the teacher, explained how the different perspectives used in photographic art could help highlight the role played by each other in loving relationships. This was done as a way to help students understand basic distinctions between different scenes and portray typical movements. Mrs. Gong used multimedia to show how a famous Chinese photographer had mastered his art to portray the deep emotional relationship shared by his own parents towards the end of their life. Art education during the class became a platform for emotional education upon which the students, most of whom had had little contact with family members due to their migrant status, could express their emotion.
Overall, I was inspired by Sun Future Foundation’s goal to address social issues and provide equitable access through art education in China. By teaching a child through art, beauty, and love, we can impact a family, a community and even an entire country in a meaningful way. Educational philanthropy at its best!
-To know more about education in China-
- Innovation and Childhood Education in China
- Laoniu Children’s Discovery Museum in Beijing
- China Global Philanthropy Institute in Beijing
- 每一份祝福都让爱走的更远 | “爱的启蒙”儿童美育实践公益项目获得国际教育公益专家好评 , Sun Future Foundation’s blog – January 21, 2019
- Philanthropy in Childhood Education in China: perspectives and opportunities, NORRAG – January 25, 2019
- 推动儿童教育公益，就是用心去做 ——2019儿童教育公益行动论坛在京举行, CGPI’s blog – January 18, 2019