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The Yanjiao school was just a couple months old when we arrived. There were no students yet and the teachers were busy decorating the classrooms. It was clear that they did not have access to a local teacher supply store with pre-made alphabet, counting, and thematic items. Their decorations were lovely, elaborate designs cut out of a vinyl adhesive much like contact paper (but not as thick or strong). The rooms had a lot of beauty but that seemed to be the only purpose for the decorations. There were no alphabet lines, or number or color walls.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao.

The handwashing area. When I asked about the purpose of the little paper cones hanging from the ceiling, the teachers said, “to look beautiful.”

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao. Note the handwashing instructions in Chinese.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao.

So far, all the classrooms I’ve seen have been blessed with an abundance of natural light.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao.

I think this was for “Circle Time” but it was in the center of the room rather than near a wall.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao.

All of our classrooms have huge observation windows. The sides of the windows slide open to allow for cross-ventilation. Although the classrooms all have air-conditioner/heater units, they are used sparingly.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao. The plum or cherry blossom branch is used often in Chinese art.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao. Lobby play area for blocks and toys.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao. Indoor play area.

August 15, 2011. Yanjiao.

More than anything I was impressed with the artistic abilities of the teachers. One of our tasks was to decorate our own room “western style.” I trembled at the thought of having to make my own decorations out of vinyl adhesive. Tomorrow, I’ll share more of the Yanjiao classrooms (see More Yanjiao and Welcome to the Doghouse).

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