WeChat groups are a vital resource for Beijing’s international community, not only providing information but bringing together people with shared interests. Each week we’ll be highlighting a thriving group chat, so whether you’re new to town or just looking to expand your networks, you can find your people.
The first days with a newborn baby can be exciting and joyous, but they can also be anxious and lonely. Children don’t come with an instruction book, and new moms and dads often look for support, community, and a coherent set of ideas about how to approach the complex challenges of parenting. For this week’s WeChat Group of the Week, we talked to Asrya Hyland, who runs one such group in Beijing.
Tell us about yourself, and how you came to be admin of this group.
I started my journey in education around 15 years ago, and have since worked in many different areas of education. I have studied both primary and early childhood education in New Zealand, and lived in China for over nine years, giving me an insight into the lifestyles and traditional understandings that Chinese parents may have.
From my education and experience, I know that from before birth until the age of 3 children set their foundational understandings of the world around them, which will shape the way that they learn and see the world for the rest of their life. Dr. Emmi Pikler – a practiced pediatrician and mother – studied the development of children from birth in institutions and in families in Hungary post-WWII, and made an approach to care and learning. This approach has since been developed further by international professionals and embraced as the foundation of other popular parenting approaches such as RIE.
As an educator, a parent and founder of a new center specializing in care and education of children 0-3, I heard a need from many people to set up a sharing system with some kind of structure to share bilingual information.
Who’s in the group and what do you talk about?
Our learning community is made up of parents, academics, and educators. We knew there was a need for this information, but the fact that our group grew to over 200 members in a matter of weeks and the level of interaction just reinforced the need. My team and I create a monthly bilingual study based on an evident need in the group. We share bilingual readings, videos, pictures, experiences, and interactive discussions, daily. All of our sharing is related to the care and education of children from 0-3.
Do you meet in real life?
We host Pikler trainings and will open a 0-3 infant and toddler center in March next year. Once we have opened our center we will start to have free monthly meetings.
If you’d like to find out more, contact Hyland via WeChat ID: Asrya1.
Photo: courtesy of Asrya Hyland