From birth to death: A unique exhibition by Chongqing kindergarten kids| Updated: 2024-05-31

Visitors stepping into a winding space at Ecool in Chongqing Liangjiang New Area are greeted by a unique exhibition that journeys through the four stages of life: birth, growth, aging, and death. This immersive experience, curated by Chongqing St. Lakeshore Kindergarten, features contributions exclusively from the children of the kindergarten.


The "Children and Philosophy -- Exploration of Life" exhibition showcases the first chapter, "Hello World". [Photo/Dai Yuan]

The exhibition, titled "Children and Philosophy -- Exploration of Life", draws inspiration from a child coping with the imminent loss of a family member. To address this, St. Lakeshore Kindergarten utilized its extensive picture book library to guide the children through a series of books on life education. Teachers posed simple questions, encouraging the children to contemplate life and death. The profound insights of the children inspired the exhibition.

Each segment of the exhibition reflects the children's comprehension of a specific life stage. The first chapter, "Hello World", showcases the children's first photos in life and their creative paintings depicting their origins, offering a glimpse into the beginning of life from the children's perspective.

The second chapter, "Growing Up" presents the children's optimistic outlook on life through audio recordings and paintings, expressing their belief in positive changes and the fulfillment of dreams. Ceramic works like bigger shoes and faces made by the children are also featured, symbolizing their growth and aspirations.


The ceramic works made by children from St. Lakeshore Kindergarten at the exhibition showcase their understanding of growing up. [Photo/Dai Yuan]

The third chapter, "Growing Old" provides an objective reflection on aging through symbols such as a rocking chair, miniature newspapers, and reading glasses, representing the children's understanding of aging as being marked by wrinkles, declining eyesight, and the use of a walking stick.

In the final chapter, "Death" the children's pragmatic understanding of death is presented through audio recordings, offering a unique and clear perspective on life's end. Their thoughts include "Death is to leave the world", "Death is going underground and gradually disappearing", and "If there is a next life, I will choose to be with my mom again". These expressions offer a unique and clear perspective on life's end.

Qiao Zheng, Principal of Chongqing St. Lakeshore Kindergarten, emphasized the significance of the exhibition. "Many parents and adults are moved to tears, especially after hearing the children's understanding of death," said Qiao. "Their feedback shows that they reflect on their way of thinking with their kids. Some aspects of their interactions seem to be overlooked." Qiao noted that the children's perspectives also provide emotional healing for parents. 


The kindergarten highlights kids' initiatives, and all the elements of the exhibition are from them, including the theme poster. [Photo/Dai Yuan]

Parents commonly recognize the importance of life education for children, particularly as they face academic and social pressures. They find that the children's positive and pragmatic approach to life helps alleviate their worries.

Chongqing St. Lakeshore Kindergarten is Chongqing's unique international Baccalaureate (IB) bilingual kindergarten. According to Qiao, the IB program aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who contribute to a better and more peaceful world through education that fosters intercultural understanding and respect. The IB curriculum develops learners who are inquirers, knowledgeable thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective.


A wall at St. Lakeshore Kindergarten is decorated with Chongqing dialects to encourage kids to explore and respect their native language. [Photo/Dai Yuan]

To continue its educational mission, the kindergarten plans to explore more themes in life and philosophy education, with another exhibition on time already in the works.

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