It may have been International Children's Day yesterday, but it was just another day of homework with some extra leisure time for most of the mainland's schoolchildren. While it was not a public holiday on the mainland, the official media have been awash with reports of how mainland children - from orphans to those coming from migrant workers' families - celebrated the occasion. Ding Ruiyang , a nine-year-old Grade 3 student in Beijing, got half a day off from school but had to spend most of the time writing assignments. 'In the morning we watched a TV programme at school, and I stayed at home the rest of the day. My little cousin came to visit me and we played football, basketball and table tennis. Besides that I finished homework given to me by my maths teacher on Tuesday,' he said. In Jiangxi province in the south of the country, Xie Laidan , 11, had been looking forward to International Children's Day because her primary school planned to take students to the movies after morning classes. 'It will be fun not to have classes in the afternoon,' said the fourth-grader from Ganzhou city . Laidan said she appreciated International Children's Day because she liked playing in parks or going on outings with her classmates or parents. But she was worried about the end-of-semester examinations, which will be held in a month. 'I am also thinking about how to prepare for the tests. Only early revision will achieve good marks.' Ruiyang and Laidan are among the 300 million primary and secondary school children on the mainland who face the pressure of academic expectations. 'The heavy burden imposed on children comes from extra coaching classes, which parents like,' said Fang Ge , a psychology professor at the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing. 'Most primary and secondary schools will not give students additional lessons. But parents send their children to various kinds of classes to pick up music or other art skills, or improve their schoolwork,' said Professor Fang. Laidan is one such student and has to stay home on weekends to receive tutoring in English and Chinese. It is obviously paying off, because she has been the top student in her 54-member class for two years. 'It is good to lay a solid academic foundation,' she said. Ruiyang attends after-school classes in calligraphy, drawing and English every week. Professor Fang said almost all parents wanted their children to become the cream of the crop because most families only had one child. 'They believe that more tutoring leads to better development. Some parents even compete for the number of lessons their children take,' she said. 'However, this makes children very tired.' A survey of 6,000 Shanghai children found that most wanted more leisure time and more sleep, according to the Hefei Evening News. 'I call on mainland parents to give their kids more time to play and more freedom,' said Professor Fang. But Laidan said: 'Playing is a waste of time and leads to poor exam results.' Still, she likes a bit of relaxation on Children's Day.