Early Childhood All About Love

A long time ago in a not-so-far-away land, happy Eva “castle” was established and brought with it a whole new way of educating children. Eva, founder of the daycare center, reveals more.

With the second child policy in China, the early education and daycare business is booming. Large sums of money have been invested into this field while tons of centers and schools have been setting up in various sizes and business modes, whether a franchise or a branch. Not many know that there is a well-established 7-year-old daycare center in Xiping, known as “Happy Eva.” You won’t see any publicity, however, when you walk closer to the premises, you will hear snatches of laughter and cheer instead of the uniform humming of reading. Upon entering the “castle,” don’t be surprised if you’re greeted with a sweet kiss or a hug from a happy child.

Eva, founder of Happy Eva “Castle” and mother, commented with pride, “My kids have the ability to enjoy themselves and be happy. We encourage them to explore, to make mistakes, to take risks; including to initiate interaction with a stranger.” Her concept doesn’t conform to the mainstream prototype of a typical kindergarten or daycare center, where kids are taught to be obedient, passive and to follow orders.

It is hard to believe that Eva used to follow the same routine at her first job after graduating from school. “It was torture to see the kids become unhappy and lose their characteristics. So, my husband and I decided to quit and build a happy place for children,” Eva continued, “I want my pupils to be what they really are and we hold no restraints or strict doctrine towards them.” How can Eva and her faculties manage a group of unruly handfuls?

When you walk closer to the premises, you will hear snatches of laughter and cheer instead of the uniform humming of reading.

It is almost like adults have a predisposition to underestimate a child. “When a child starts to cry, you should not intervene via your authority. You should trust that the child has the ability to soothe himself/herself. Gradually, you will be amazed.” Eva added, “Even when two kids get into a fight, don’t try to break them up. You just need to trust and observe how they develop an interesting diplomatic way of their own to solve conflicts. The more you trust them, the easier it will be. Teachers are there to guide and encourage.”

Eva spent years training her teachers to deliver such a positive way of child-rearing. Having been working in the education field for 20 years, it was during her 30s that Eva became dedicated to preschool education including training and certifying other headmistresses and teachers. What strikes me as paradoxical is that no certificate is ever needed before becoming a parent. As a working mother, I feel it’s extremely difficult to deal with a young baby while juggling other responsibilities. It’s almost impossible for me to maintain the image of a calm and loving mother all the time. When I asked Eva for tips, she replied enthusiastically, “It’s easy!” Is it easy?

It being “easy” means you have to believe it is easy on top of everything else and you are fully capable of managing whatever is on your plate. When you get home after a long working day, extremely tired and your kid just can’t stop crying, the “easy” way is to snap but it is not the easy way. There is absolutely no reason to get hysterical at something that is totally under your control. Trust yourself and your kid. Show empathy and love unconditionally.

Now, it is much easier to understand why in Happy Eva Castle, the only rule is “no rules, no fury or fear.” Keep in mind that the daycare center features a dozen children between the ages of three to six. How is it possible? Well, the older kids have picked up the skills to care for the younger ones by observing the teachers closely, while the younger ones have these role models to look up to. “If you have more than one child, that is what you should do. What a beautiful scene, two siblings bonding and you smiling at them!” Eva explained more, eyes beaming, “We have children with autism too. They can experience ‘normal life’ in Happy Eva Castle before going to a specialized school. Meanwhile, the other children can learn to accept and take care of those in need.”

“My children are my biggest achievement,” Eva continued, “My teachers used to be my students, now they are my daughters and sons.” It is not hard to see that Eva’s educational methods have become the tinder of inspiration for teachers, parents, and even children.