A Day Among First-Year Schoolchildren

A month has already passed since the whole country was animated with the new school year´s day. Out of curiosity about the 7-year-old precocious uniformed schoolchildren, I visited the Ponghak Primary School in Phyongchon District, Pyongyang. Pupils of different ages were learning physical culture in the playground. Some children especially drew my attention. Their motions were not same, but clumsy.
The teacher who was correcting their motions one by one, told me that they were the first-year pupils just from kindergarten.

Boy Ryu Song Gwang said:

“I learned Right Dress and how to be drawn up in four line. Very interesting.”

He was just like other first-year pupils who were still bored with lessons and liked to play. I met the schoolmaster looking around classrooms. The schoolmaster said it is most important to pay primary attention to education of the first-year pupils who took the first step of school education.

All classrooms on the first floor were for the first-year pupils. Walking along the corridor hearing the first-year pupils reading and singing, I entered the room of 1-Class E in the music and dance lesson. There I met Pak Jin Hyang singing in front of the class, to the accompaniment of the organ played by teacher.

“My friends say I am a good singer.”

She said proudly meaning that she is the best singer. In the next classroom, first-year pupils were drawing pictures with crayons in their small hands. A pupil was quietly looking aside at other´s picture and a pupil was looking up at the teacher, scratching his head as if he had drawn something wrong. The teacher took a picture of a boy and praised. The boy was Han Tae Hyok.

“I have drawn a beautiful rainbow. My father draws well. I will grow to be a painter like him.”

It was satisfactory to see Tae Hyok who represented his innocent dream in his unskilful picture, happy with his own picture and proud of his father.

In the children, I saw the efforts of teachers to find out and cultivate talents of the first-year pupils according to their sentiments and characteristics.

Feeling the warm affection of the teachers, I entered the room of 1-Class D in mathematics lesson by multimedia program.
Teacher Choe Chol Gum said:

“We, teachers, put emphasis on intellectual education in line with sentiments of the pupils who are still very precocious and lack concentration. Now they are more interested in lesson and curious of more new things.”

Everything is new to the first-year pupils and they want to know it. I left the school with the firm belief that their green dreams will mature and come into reality on this land under the benefits of the universal 12-year compulsory education.