Principal CAI Weiling: Kids’ Personality that I Secure
2018 is the thirtieth year for my career of a pre-school education, before which I involved in the establishment of 6 kindergartens starting from nothing. Yet, for me, it is a year combing a restart with a fulfilled dream - as a witness of dreams in kids to have taken their roots and started to grow in Yungu Kindergarten.
1.“Kids in Sight” and “To Secure Personality of Kids”
Like a tree in my heart and a no-go area, the expression Personality of Kids has started from a talk with my instructor about what a middle school for teenagers shall be like. As is known, the young, full of vigor, are a group with a flavor of youth; undoubtedly, such a group should never be in company with slackness and sameness. The talk concerned has brought sidelights to me; the kindergarten faint in my mind has become clearer and clearer. The Kindergarten shall be a wonderful campus with an air of kids, on which every member is bright and warm.
When it comes to what Kids in Sight really means, it never refers to keeping a close eye on them, nor making a perfunctory effort, as BEING IN SIGHT and TAKING A LOOK AT are as different as chalk and cheese - only to take a look has nothing to do with an insight into nature of kids.
2. The Campus as a Harbored Form of Educational Concepts and the Design as a Big Focus on Education
There were only three row buildings before us for the kindergarten to take form in reality from the idea at the beginning; none of the said houses, sitting in Taoyuanwuli, had any decoration.
As for what a kindergarten to be built, a firm agreement was reached amongst staff members - the campus to be established shall be in a fine combination with and in the purpose of securing nature of the kids, instead of being out of imagination. We should put children ahead of what we will do, which marks that education in fact has taken its road, despite no kid in the preparation period.
What will come to kids’ hearts when they are greeted with these appliances and what reaction will they present? To kids, what a design can provoke their minds and give them support and how we can create an environment being comfortable and at ease?
We have paid great efforts to design what the Valley of Elves should be like - devotion and affection has been involved in terms of the layout including corners, facilities, colors, trees and flowers, and even as many as ten thousand devices and materials for teaching.
Remarkably, we have been met with an episode, in which we were compelled to make a choice from two wonderful plans - one was to build a fountain, where kids could have pretty fun, and the other was to replace all the windows with French windows (as what is presented now). However, the expenditure of the two would cost twice as much as our budget; we were left by no alternative but to choose either. Eventually, to have the floor-to-ceiling windows became my final decision. From my perspective, the choice means that kids are welcomed with their immediate connection with the outside world, changes of weather, alternations of seasons, plants from being in bloom to becoming withered, and tracks of flying birds.
All the above will make a difference in silence to mind and emotion of the kids.
We seemed to walk on air, seeing the designed layout come true by many hands. I was hit by a touching kind of appreciation never in me before, when stepping into the finished building on 24 August 2018, a fruit by concerted efforts to the drawing by many and many revisions
3. Relation-based Education
It has been half a year for the first kindergarteners in the Valley of Elves. Notably, it is commonplace to be presented by that a kid is on the back of a teacher for fun just like a koala, that a teacher in distance is called by name XIAO XIAO by a kindergartener in excitement with self throwing at the teacher, or that a mother is told by her kid when at home “Mummy, I got angry with DONG DONG”.
What lies behind the behavior above has indicated that there is a close relation between the young children and their teachers.
To the teaching staff of the Kindergarten, it is easy to have a shift in between such identities as a mother, senior brother and sister, and teacher. To the young at such an age, it is better to set a premium more on what is being done rather than what can be taught, as everything being done can reach them via their sharp perspective.
Basking in a good relation can facilitate a feeling of security and comfort to develop in little mentees before a powerful influence on them by mentors, which is essential to deliver education. Accordingly, this is where real education starts.
4. Implicit Education: A Bold Attempt on No Nurse
Child caregivers have been part of the campuses concerning life, care delivery, and service in every class, where I once worked during the past three decades. Yet, Yungu has turned out to be an exception. Why?
A huge resource of education lies in life itself, through which education can play a real role; kids are expected to acquire the ability to make a good life by education. Many chances for knowledge acquisition are from daily problems of livelihood for a kid, where many parts have been presented in classes by teachers in place of nurses.
For fine excise, it can refer to changing wet clothes by playing water until being neatly dressed, besides shoelace tying independently. For how much to eat for a meal by repetition, self-service performances are involved, including the removal of leftovers. For noon rest, bed placing and moving is engaged in the purpose of an experience as to weight in cooperation and balance. For mental judgment, it includes cleaning, for distance judgment and tool manipulation.
Based on the combination of real life within education, kids can come to know how they behave to reach their goals, coupled with the acquired ability of solution finding by repeated attempts. The given education, despite being implicit, is indeed the top form of educating by virtue of knowledge acquisition in life.
5.The Easiest Way to Abandon in the Name of Respect and Personality
A deep impression on me has come from an incident in the Valley of Elves recently, amid a couple of kids with no intention to sleep at the noon break. Also, the teacher in charge of kids accordingly was told by the parents involved to bend to the will of those young children, for easing the worry of the teacher concerned.
Obviously, not all early newcomers have formed a self-care habit with the absence of a nurse; the teachers are left to work as both a teacher and caregiver. In return, a teacher can only get courses reviewed in a dim corner until kids are asleep. Allowing for enough on their plate, I’ve told the teachers to put those kids in a safe area for making fun, if the children are unwilling to have a nap. However, one teacher has revealed that noon sleep is of great importance for growth of kids and that it is possible for those kids to get sleep like others, despite more time and efforts to be involved.
Literally, it refers to an extreme challenge to patience and wisdom of a teacher, who will never resort to a one-size-fits-all method in the communication with kids but would like to lend an ear and reduce the pace in patience to partner up with that of the young children, instead. An example comes from the mentioned teacher, who may have chosen to give up in the stated case just as a majority will do.
A popular focus on personality goes vital now, in the name of respect for differences of kids, but it is likely to fall into two extremes:
In one case, it is common to see that the same method would be adopted for sidestepping trouble in teaching and management; such practice is regarded to be the easiest for the parties engaged.
In the other, it takes respect for differences of kids into consideration, on which I have made an attempt by allowing for that no shame is involved concerning education. For example, I will give way to what they want for some kids, who are unwilling to sleep or fussy about food.
From my perspective, an excuse for abandonment rests on being in the name of independence, respect, or personality. We shall keep a very alert mind against any of those practices.
6.Explicit Growth: To Apply Technologies into the Understanding
Educational technology, transferred in Yungu, is what I introduced to myself in 2005 besides the research related. Even today, the concept remains very definite that real practice shall be integrated with an ambition. The technology has enabled us to have a better and more thorough understanding of our kids in a multiple attitude and from more than one way.
The technology-based network, consisting of points, lines and surfaces, has been set in place for data collecting from physical data in the early stage namely involving temperature and humidity taking, to the physical assessment and sleep quality, and even to the recording by Yungu APPs in terms of growth and excitement moments in stories in the later period. Accordingly, we have become accessible to rich information in the form of data, texts, and pictures, which are, in a full and scientific way, conducive to tracks of and analyses on kids’ development. An outlet therefore has been presented to discover where best merits, interests and habits lie in kids, before their integrated involvement in education and cultivation.
In the long run, technologies of Yungu will facilitate the following aspects regarding the education of preschoolers: it is more convenient for the data to be shared by teachers with parents, for an overall understanding of development in kindergartners apart from data accumulation for a long time frame; teachers will be thus offered a pool of teaching and educating resources, combined with endless support for information involved; the establishment of a smart campus will correspond to administration to a greater degree on the better management of the school based on technologies, and the technology is also a great force for research in Yungu, a research-oriented institute, as data and information can well serve studies on courses and behaviors of kids.
7.Life-based Enlightenment in Reality: Project-oriented Teaching
The latest six months have witnessed a total of 11 project-based practices in our 4 classes; the flexible courses have become a normal of education and cultivation of Yungu Kindergarten.
Six major blocks of Life-based Enlightenment have been in fine combination with education presentation in teachers and in students have contributed to a network being systematic and natural in their life. The entire course has seen teachers as a follower, observer, assistant, and supporter, instead of a knowledge feeder. The Projects have been made out of the inspiration of exciting moments for kids in real life, a full preparation for teaching and tests, curiosity guiding before blossoming into rational interests, sensual excitement, and willingness of exploration making.
I’ve been told that it is hard for teachers to work in Yungu Kindergarten - in Yungu, two adults can not necessarily manage to do with 18 children while as many as 30 kids can be dealt with by only one teacher in its common counterparts. Remarkably, a separate method has been taken in Yungu in terms of education and cultivation for its kid individuals, instead of the same way to 30 different children.
Each and every kid is a whole individual, which entails an attitude in us to regard them to be able to learn.
Efforts are expected to be added for a penetrating understanding of kids with respective uniqueness.
To have an overall understanding of kids is the very idea that I have been pursuing and securing in Yungu.