When school let out in June I was always as deliriously happy as every other kid running out of the building straight towards summer. And like every other kid, I spent most of the long holiday completely absorbed in my summer pursuits – if the thought of school ever flickered briefly through my brain it was usually attached to a “how many days before I have to go back there” panic. But inevitably, something shifted each August and the local pool started to look a little less inviting, the playground a little tired. I could no longer convince my brothers to play cards, or find any exciting books at the library. Slowly, school started to sound less like a curse word and more and more like something to look forward to.
My wise parents would fuel my back-to-school excitement by taking me to the corner drugstore and letting me indulge in a school supply shopping spree. A whole afternoon would pass while I stood in deep contemplation in front of the display of notebooks, folders, pencils and pencil cases. Everything was so pristine and intact and smelled so new.
The yellow pencils packaged in neat rows with their tips pre-sharpened to pointy perfection were all exactly the same length, and their erasers were round and smooth and untouched. The corners of the black and white marbled covers on the notebooks were unbent, and the spaces for you to pen your name and the subject were blank and white as snow, waiting to receive whatever you would fill them with this year – maybe your name would be written in cursive this time, or you’d get to write “geography” or some other new word – who could predict? There was so much promise in the school supply aisle it was enough to make you giddy. I always left with a bag of supplies and a brain full of plans for the new year.
By now the sheen will have started to wear off of the summer for many of Beijing’s kids, and they’ll be gearing up for the new year in their own ways. Maybe yours are mentally cataloging their summer exploits, preparing to share them with friends. Maybe they’re plotting their first-day-back outfit. Or maybe they’re wiggling that new loose tooth, hoping they’ll have an impressive grown-up gap to beam towards their new teacher.
However you get psyched for it, we know the big day back takes a lot of prep for both kids and parents so we’ve put together some back-to-school features to help out. “New Year, New School” offers advice from school professionals and fellow parents on getting things off to a smooth start in a new school environment. “Packing the Perfect Lunch”, “Noontime Nutrition”, and “Chinese Choices” will motivate you to get your kids eating right this school year. And in “School of Style”, our seven adorable models show off a ton of cool looks your kids will be eager to wear into their new classrooms. We hope they get you excited for the new school year and everything it promises. And we know your kids won’t remember their back-to-school anticipation when next summer rolls around, but that’s only as it should be.