China Elevator Stories

“I Went To Kindergarten For 7 Years”

I listen to two co-workers talking.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


One day in the fall of 2013, I listen to two co-workers talking. One is a guy from Northeast China, who’s 24, the other one is a woman in her mid-30s, who has a 3-year-old child. She tells us how hard it is to find a place in a kindergarten in Shenzhen.

The guy tells her: “I went to kindergarten for 7 years.”
She asks: “7 years?”
He says: “Yes, no one really cares about how long you attend kindergarten where I’m from. Also, my parents knew some people who work at kindergartens, so they took me on and I just stayed there during the day. But I did change the kindergarten I went to almost every half to every year. I probably attended every single kindergarten in my hometown.”
“What do your parents do?”
“They own a small restaurant. When I was little, they had just opened it – there was a lot of work and they had no time to look after me. There was no one in my family who could look after me, so they put me in kindergarten when I was really little.”

Have you been to kindergarten?

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