Beginner in Chinese?

Sign up to get a free basic Chinese course complete with MP3 audio, 
plus learning tips and video lessons! 

Chinese Conversation Clips – Primary School in China

English translation of video content:

Chris: This time we will discuss what kind of experience it is going to school in China. Let’s start from primary (elementary) school. First let me ask a relatively simple question, that is, in China, at what age do children usually start school?

Becca: Usually around the age of seven, and now some children go to school earlier and earlier, but even the earliest would be at least six years old.

Chris: This formal education, does it start from kindergarten or from primary

Becca: China has a nine-year compulsory education system: a free, nine-year compulsory education subsidised by the government. The nine years refers to six years of primary school, plus three years of junior middle (junior high) school.

Chris: Let’s talk about primary school first. In primary school, what kind of classes do children take?

Becca: Basically, in primary school, the main courses include language, in other words Chinese class, mathematics and English. In addition, there is also nature class, which is…

Chris: Is that science?

Becca: It is similar to a science class. It guides students in understanding animals, plants and other things in the natural world.

Chris: That class sounds very interesting. Is nature class all about hanging out outdoors? Or playing with small animals? Or is it just telling you about some science things?

Becca: It is not totally about playing outside, because there are still some theoretical things that need to be learned, like some things in books. But sometimes you are also required to go out into nature to look at plants. Or, for example, the class encourages students to raise their own small animals at home. Apart from these classes, there is also physical education (PE) class.

Chris: Is physical education a daily class or not?

Becca: You don’t have this class every day. It is around twice a week. And there is also art class and music class. Also, there is labour skills class, where students practise handicrafts.

Chris: What kind of skills, for example?

Becca: For instance, cooking simple food, doing simple handicrafts or fabric arts.

Chris: What a practical class.

Becca: Yes it is.

Chris: So do you have to wear a school uniform when you are in primary school or secondary (middle) school?

Becca: Yes, in both primary and secondary (middle) school, students are required to wear a uniform.

Chris: For example, what kind of school uniform did you wear in primary school?

Becca: I changed primary school uniform a few times, in fact, but mainly the main style was a sportswear style.

Chris: Sportswear? You go to school in sports clothes.

Becca: Yes. The style of the school uniforms in many schools in China is mostly casual and athletic.

Chris: Why do you wear sports clothes? Is it because they’re comfortable, or another reason?

Becca: Probably this is mainly taking into account [the fact] that children will be more comfortable in these clothes, and they are more convenient.

Sign up here to get access to the full transcripts with Chinese characters and Pinyin: