We Are Huili: School-Family Cooperation is Key to Pupil Success

This week’s article in the We Are Huili series is from Mr. Zhou, whose three children all study at Huili. Mr. Zhou identifies with Huili’s holistic educational philosophy, hoping his children can grow up in a caring and positive environment. His eldest daughter, Shiner, studies in Grade 5 and is a clever and thoughtful girl, making both of her parents feel reassured about her progress. His younger daughter, Kelly, studies in Early Years 3 at Huili Nursery Hangzhou, and is still enjoying her carefree childhood. Therefore in this article, Mr. Zhou would like to especially share the story of his son, David, who currently studies in Grade 3 at Huili School Hangzhou.

First impressions of Huili School Hangzhou

Children’s education has always been our focus. There are friends around us who sent their children to study abroad at an early age, but my wife and I felt that may cause unexpected problems. When I heard that a new bilingual school, a member of the Wellington College family of schools, would be opening in Hangzhou, I researched the school immediately. I learnt about the long history of Wellington College and the good reputation and college acceptance rates of Wellington College International Tianjin and Wellington College International Shanghai. Although the construction of Huili School Hangzhou was not yet completed, I had every reason to believe that it would be as good as other members of the Wellington College family of schools.

Realising pupils’ individual potential through school-family cooperation

At Huili School Hangzhou, parents and teachers communicate in various ways, such as daily communication through the T-Chat app, regularly held coffee mornings, parents meetings and information sessions.

At Huili, I feel that teachers are more like our friends, supporting each other in various aspects. On the one hand, Huili’s teachers all have global mindsets and on the other hand, they do care about our children. At Parent Teacher Conferences, teachers of all subjects communicate with me one-on-one, providing practical and sincere advice based on pupils’ individual situations. For example, David’s class teacher, Alice, told me that he is slow to warm to people he does not know, and therefore it may take him a relatively long time to fit into the new environment. In addition, instead of focusing excessively on David’s academic performance, Alice put effort in helping David develop good learning habits, good character and more importantly, helped us realise his long-term potential, which we as parents did not expect. After putting forward David’s shortcomings, Alice pointed out the importance of setting clear goals, suggesting us to focus on one aspect of learning which needed to be improved in a period of time. We made several adjustments in terms of the family education based on her advice, and to our surprise, David is making gradual progress in these aspects. I am thankful for what teachers have done for me and my children.

Parents workshops organised by the school are also a good way of communicating key elements of learning within the school, inspiring us a lot in terms of our children’s education. For example, I once participated in the Dad’s Workshop hosted by the Head of Early Years. Jacqueline moved me profoundly as a parent, helping me realise the importance of companionship.

In fact, parent-school communication is a continuous process. Challenges and difficulties are inevitable when entering a new school and as far as I am concerned, it is of central importance for parents to let children face challenges and build resilience by themselves, attaining personal growth. Throughout this process a concerted effort between the school and parents is key and from what I can see, Huili School Hangzhou has played an active role in it.

Creating a pleasant environment through pastoral care

I have always believed that a child cannot be judged solely by his or her academic performance. My children have changed beyond my expectation since they joined Huili School Hangzhou. For example, David has become more cheerful and developed a stronger sense of responsibility and self-discipline.

The House System at Huili School Hangzhou encourages pupils to learn from and communicate with each other. For example, David belongs to Xian House, where he has interactions with pupils of different ages and it is brilliant to see that he now takes the initiative to take care of younger children, exercising his sense of responsibility. In addition, he is also provided with the opportunity to make friends with older pupils. We are living in a diversified society and it is of central importance for David to get in touch with different people, which will leave a positive influence on his development and future outcomes.

Respecting individuality and developing well-rounded pupils

The school treats each and every pupil as a unique individual. My older daughter, Shiner, is highly motivated to study. For example, she always finishes her homework on time and takes the initiative to memorise the required vocabulary. Therefore, it seems that there is nothing for my wife and I to worry about her study. When it comes to David, we first followed the same educational approach as we did with Shiner, allowing him to have a high level of autonomy in study. After talking to teachers, we realised that family education should be differentiated as each child has a different personality. As parents, we need to take care of their individual needs.

In terms of extracurricular activities, I respect my children’s preferences, supporting their own choices. All of them have participated in sports and artistic activities. For example. Davide recently participated in the ZJTV Pupil Journalist Selection activity and the House Singing Completion, allowing him to gain new experiences. The school provides various opportunities for children to develop themselves into well-rounded individuals. At this stage, it is important for every child to explore his or her interest, so as to develop a lifelong passion for learning.