One of our tasks was to decorate a classroom “western style.” Although, we weren’t sure what was meant by “western style,” we had gathered some classroom decorating materials from the local teacher supply store and packed them in our suitcases. I had also weeded through my own children’s book collection and brought the ones I thought I could part with or easily replace (which ended up being a good thing because I cannot find children’s books in English here).
We noticed that the Chinese teacher’s decorations, although lovely, did not have an educational purpose (see Welcome to Yanjiao and More Yanjiao). There were no alphabets, no art with numbers or shapes or colors.
Nili, our Chinese friend in the US who had sent us here and is also the Coordinator of Early Childhood Education at Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, instructed us to make sure our decorations had a purpose. We set about our task–
well, mostly Maggie and Molly set about the task because I am hopelessly inept at art having been denied the privilege of taking art classes in junior high because I was in orchestra–the girls are incredible at creating fun, colorful and purposeful class art.
Although we set the room up with centers (as an example of an American preschool room) none of the centers were ever used. My room is where the children come twice a week for a 30-minute English class which I teach at the circle with a mixture of music, conversation, and games. The children loved the little house but I had to take it down because they would hide in there instead of sitting in the circle.
We also shied away from using the vinyl adhesive in favor of construction paper. I later learned why they used the vinyl adhesive when our construction paper decorations started falling down from the humidity after only a month, while the vinyl adhesive ones are still up!
Well, I have been enjoying posting daily, but it’s been hard work. I plan to keep it up, though, as I have so many stories and pictures to share–I’ve only just begun. I’ve got video, too, if I can ever figure out my video editing software. Stay tuned next week for more on the Great Wall, church in China, and maybe even the long-awaited “Pizza (part 2)!”