Ideas for Project

I got my first project idea when I came across a Chinese made documentary called “Kindergarten” that documents the everyday lives of kids age 2 to 7 attending a boarding kindergarten in China. I was floored by the fact that parents were sending their two year olds to boarding school, and I started researching the idea and found that kindergarten has become an increasingly competitive thing in China as parents try to give (what is often their only) child the best possible chance at success. A lot of the schools, both boarding and day, have long waiting lists and are very expensive. My project would look into the way early childhood education is dealt with in China. Prof. Fernsebner suggested another documentary called “Please Vote for Me” about elementary education, so I’ll definitely be looking into that one as well. There are lots of interesting articles coming out about the growing focus on early childhood education and the pressures it puts on parents as well as students. It would also be interesting to compare how the the Chinese are approaching kindergarten in relation to the way those in other countries do.

My second idea stemmed from the article about pet ownership I read in China Digital News the other day. As pet ownership is rising in China so are tensions between pet owners, largely wealthier city dwellers, and non pet owners, mainly poorer and rural Chinese, over the merits of owning vs. eating dogs and cats. Treating animals as pets is so ingrained in American culture at this point that it is intriguing to see China just now grappling with what it means to bring animals into homes, some even treating them as substitute human companions.

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3 Responses to “Ideas for Project”

  1. eunderwo says:

    I really like the boarding school/elementary education idea. That sounds really interesting, especially because school is such a focus and a big deal in China. I had not heard that they sent their children to boarding schools so early- that is crazy, I have a two year old and I couldn’t see myself sending her off to school somewhere. However, I guess I could kind of see that, if it was your only and best chance to get you child into a good school. (since school is so competitive there too). But yes, I like this idea. I think that you could really get something interesting from it.

  2. Sara says:

    I really like your idea of looking at parents sending their kids to boarding schools. It might help to also look at what we discussed in class with the idea that each child has to be the absolute best at something, the child prodigies we looked at in China Candid. I feel like those go together really well, and it would help your research in finding out where those boarding school children end up once they’ve moved on from ultra-kindergarten.

    The pet idea is really good one too. I wonder though, how many sources are really available. Maybe there are Chinese pet adoption sites you could look at? Or even looking at the food side of it, are those dishes that include dogs and cats becoming less popular?

  3. awag says:

    The pet idea is really intriguing! I read a brief article that China might be considering banning the eating of cats and dogs? (http://planetsave.com/2010/01/27/china-to-ban-eating-cats-and-dogs/ Of course this article is a bit biased, being from a vegetarian viewpoint, but I’m sure there are other sources on it) So you could maybe look at the idea of the government’s role when it comes to pet ownership, with this possible new law, as well as old pressures during the Cultural Revolution to get rid of pets. Also, it’d be interesting to know how the population density and such effects what sorts of pets become popular. I think there are a lot of avenues you could explore with pets!