Children, learning and play in the Mengxue bao (the Children’s Educator, 1897-1902)

This article examines the image of the child and play in the Mengxue bao (The Children’s Educator, 1897-1902), an important but largely neglected children’s periodical established by Chinese reformers in the late-nineteenth century, a time when intellectuals who were concerned about China’s future began to question dominant educational practices. It focuses on articles that were unusual in illustrating the importance of learning to cultivating ethical behaviour and stimulating resourcefulness through play. The Children’s Educator noted the importance of studying, but also encouraged children to play. This recognition that play is a significant part of childhood marks a shift in attitudes towards Chinese children and their relationship with play in the early twentieth century. © International Research Society for Children’s Literature.

This article examines the image of the child and play in the Mengxue bao (The Children’s Educator, 1897-1902), an important but largely neglected children’s periodical established by Chinese reformers in the late-nineteenth century, a time when intellectuals who were concerned about China’s future began to question dominant educational practices. It focuses on articles that were unusual in illustrating the importance of learning to cultivating ethical behaviour and stimulating resourcefulness through play. The Children’s Educator noted the importance of studying, but also encouraged children to play. This recognition that play is a significant part of childhood marks a shift in attitudes towards Chinese children and their relationship with play in the early twentieth century. © International Research Society for Children’s Literature.

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