Outside No1 Primary after 1st morning.
As Freda and Edie began their new school term last week, Ali and I found ourselves with a new exercise regime. With dropping-off and picking-up the girls morning and afternoon, we are both spending about two hours on a bike a day. It's already a struggle to get up Wu Yi Street on our all-steel single-speed Flying Pigeon [aka Sherman], never mind with Freda on the back. Having said that, it's great to have some exercise fitted into the daily schedule. We're both getting fitter!

Edie is in Primary one, class one, with Mrs Zhou (apparantly the best in Grade 1) as her Form Teacher. She's loving the classes so far and doesn't seem to be put off by the huge number of books or evening homework. Her only objection has been the army-style classroom routines they have to follow with the stricter teachers: books in a particular place on the desk, pencil case in another; backs straight with hands clasped behind or arms folded on desk; only raise right arm (not left) to ask/answer a question, and a whole load of Teacher-student chants that help maintain order. A week in and the new recruit seems to be doing okay. She is certainly benefiting from her older sister's experiences and guidance.

Ali and I attended a Grade 1 parents' evening when everyone was introduced to the school's ideology by their progressive Headmaster, Mr Luo. The lecture finished with advice on personal hygiene, homework help and basic daily routines - giving the children breakfast before they go to school and getting them to bed before 9pm etc. All very enlightening....

With week 2 ahead, Edie says: "School is fun and I like Zhou Laoshi. I like art, PE, Chinese and Maths. I like them all. The teacher has given my row three stickers because we have the most points for being good. I have six friends. It's lovely having Freda in the school because she's so friendly and she helps me sort of."

Freda says: "School is nice but homework is boring. The teachers are different this term and the timetable. I've got computing and English classes and science too. I've got a new deskmate. My best friends are Shi Yi and Lao Yang. I love Edie going to school but not when she forgets to come and see me at break time!"

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