Since 2008, students in the Early Childhood Education program have completed one-month study abroad internships at Regent International Preschool in the city of Suzhou, China. The value of their learning and working experiences at a Regent International
preschool are invaluable. Read their own words written for the Talk Back China project, an online diary.
Marianne Luzy Riopel
One of the first historical sites we visited in Suzhou was the famous Tiger Hill. The site is home to many features that are historically important to the founding of Suzhou. The area’s history and artefacts go back as far as 2,500 years, which made
me very impressed by their quality. This attraction is found on a hill, which had us walk upwards on many paths to get to the Tiger Hill Pagoda, the symbol of the city. As we went up the hill, we saw several traditional houses with many artistic
elements like calligraphy, musical instruments, furniture, and paintings. The house frames were mostly made of wood with beautiful craving all over which made us realize the architectural significance of these traditional Suzhou buildings. The
beautiful details really made us think about all the time invested into the creation of these sites. As we continued our journey to the top of the hill, we managed to see magnificent scenery of colourful trees, flowers, rivers and even animals
at some point. Before getting to the tower, we had to pass under a beautiful door frame made of cement, it had plants and flowers growing all over it; after the entry we saw the beautiful tower. It was in the middle of an open space surrounded
by trees. My favorite part of the whole visit was the bonsai garden we saw on our way back down Tiger Hill. There are more than 600 pots of Bonsai displayed in this area of the site. All of them were unique and very aesthetic. This visit really
made me realize the beauty of details.
Exploring Tongli (Water Town)
We visited Tongli, also known as Water Town, on a beautiful Saturday morning. The area was buzzing with local people laughing, talking, and taking pictures as they entered the lively town. When we entered Tongli we could not help, but notice how busy
Tongli (Water Town) gets its name from the water canals and ancient bridges which surround the town. Tongli is also known as a national park and 1000-year old heritage site of China, with gardens, halls, residential areas, restaurants and many shops.
The shops are clustered into groups, where merchants sell a variety of products; such as, traditional clothing, handmade combs, silk scarves, jewellery, wood carvings, toys, and an array of Chinese foods and beverages. After a long day of exploring
Tongli, Chinese locals can be seen boarding manual sculling boats operated by designated operators. These boats can be seen floating along the water as you make your way in and out of the tiny shops. We had fun exploring Tongli, because it reminded
us of a more traditional Chinese setting. We visited Chongben Hall, a traditional marriage house for the people of Jiangnan Water Town. In the marriage house we were able to witness traditional wedding customs, bridal shoes-delicately placed in
glass display cases, bridal chambers, and the hall that was used for traditional Chinese wedding ceremonies. All in all, Tongli is a fantastic blend of history, art nature, food, shopping, and Chinese culture. It was an absolutely wonderful and
Celebrating With Families
Mother's Day is a very special occasion in Suzhou, China. At Suzhou Regent International Preschool, preparations start weeks in advance and result in a morning to remember for every family and educator. This year the kindergarten classes were able
to use the newly constructed play space to spend time with their mothers and grandmothers. This made the day even more special. When the event began the children were asked to point to their mothers, instead each child jumped up and ran to their
special someone a big hug!
The mothers at the school are very devote to their children and their education. They take the time to learn with the children and ensure the school always provides the best of the best for their families. Their love shows when the children are able to
spend quality time with their mothers at the centre. Each child-mother team got to do every activity together from games to art activities. Through the art project the families were truly able to express their unique relationship and dynamic.
Each picture turned out different from the next. At the end of the day the children were able to give their special someone a present but the memories of the day are the true gift of the day.
College Learning at the Suzhou ECE college Lab school: The Flower Kindergarten
As an International Student at George Brown College, I have studied early childhood education in Canada – but, attended Kindergarten as a child in China. I have always wondered how Kindergarten now looks in China, and was excited to visit a local
lab school in Suzhou. After we arrived in the Kindergarten, we were led to a presentation that provided information on the Kindergarten’s history and process of developing their curriculum. I was very impressed that they worked very hard, achieved
many milestones to develop the play- based curriculum they are using now. As the Kindergarten supervisor said, “We believe that every child is like a flower, they have their own way to grow. We as adults are responsible to create the best environment
to help them grow and give them a lot of love.”
While walking around the Kindergarten, I saw many great environments they have created; I saw children are wearing raincoats and rain boots to get ready for water play. I saw children using blocks and many other materials to build different kinds
of towers on the playground, I saw many fruits and plants children have planted, I heard children’s laughter in the playground, sand area, mud area, water area …… the children were also very welcoming to our visit, they all waved and greeted us
when we walked by.