Photo of the Primary School We Work With

What is PH lighthouse?

PH lighthouse is a student organization founded by a group of high school students at Shanghai Pinghe School. We are dedicated to communicate with students in the age of 10 to 12 by expanding their understanding in humanities and fundamental philosophical issues,  broadening their horizons and promoting independent thinking. In August 2022, we connected with a rural elementary school in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province, China. Due to geographic constraints, we meets one-on-one once every 2 weeks with a group of 5th-6th graders online. We typically use  movies, books, current events, or real-life examples as a medium to discuss humanistic and philosophical topics. In communications, we also related some topics in Theory of Knowledge(TOK) in IB curriculum.  The one-on-one format allows us to personalize the content and format of the communication to the interests and characteristics of each child. To check more details about our communication, please go to the “Our Topics” page. 

Why PH lighthouse?

In today’s Chinese society, the rapid economic growth and accumulation of wealth speeding up the solidification of classes. At the same time, many rural areas still face the issue of inadequate educational resources. For many rural children, their parents work outside the home, and their grandparents are ill-informed from latest knowledge and thinking, therefore blocking new ideas and interest to be spread in the new generation and hindering the capability of children to choose their own future.  Once, in an interview, a reporter asked a cowherd boy why he cut grass, and the boy answers that he did it to raise cows. When the reporter following-up asked  why he was raising cows, the child replied that he was selling them to make money so he can marry a wife and have a baby. And his child will continue to herd cattle after he/she grows up. Everything seems to fall into a loop. For such a child, perhaps he will never think about another possibility of life, or perhaps the hardship of life will erase his all “impractical” thinking and aspirations. 

Such problems are exist in many children of this age, both in rural areas or in cities. As high school students, when looking back at the elementary and middle school education , we reflect that: the education system, most of the times, seems to focus only on the inculcation of certain knowledge, and we rarely learnt how to discern the veracity of information and identify their underlying positions; how to be inclusive to different cultures, thoughts, and values; how to react with the complexities of war and history; how to look at death and live a meaningful life; and how to judge fairness and justice. These topics are undoubtedly indispensable. Especially for rural children, the relative isolation of their location makes it even more significant to have a broader perspective and sharper thinking even more desperately.

As high school students,

We established PH lighthouse as a platform to promote children’s thinking about these issues in online communications and discussions. Frankly, our understanding of many of these issues, is only at a fairly superficial level. However, our responsibility is to show these issues to children, and hoping to help them generate their own opinion through our discussion.  The activity itself will be a mutual growth and improvement between children and us. Our reflections on each communication can be found in the section: “Reflections and Evaluation” and we welcome you to share any related suggestions and ideas with us!