YingHua Chinese School | YingHua International School | Announcement | Login

through Paypal
Total  visits

"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

68 Records (68 pages) [start] << 1 Back - 41 42 43 44 45 - Next 1 >> [end]


by Liao,Bonnie on 2010-10-15

What a terrific day we have had today on campus!  I am soring from our very last activity—a return visit from our Chinese puzzle teacher—but I will try to be a good narrator and tell you something of what came before this extraordinary evening.


The day started at 6:55 with morning exercise, breakfast, then Mandarin classes.  Added to our regular language curriculum was skit practice for tomorrow’s visit to the elder community.  Your children are getting excited and nervous about their performances.  I promise, I will tell you more about these after our visit!


After a family-style lunch with some especially delicious bing, the students had a bit of free time to work on homework and socialize.  As you may have gathered from our updates, we don’t have a great deal of “free time” on the program, and some of our campers have been clamoring for it.  After homework was completed, we had a large circle of card players on the fourth floor enjoying some relaxation together before our next activity: making small figures out of clay.


We gathered in the hotel restaurant for this activity and the students delighted in using their hands to shape small figurines out of colored clay.  The instructor—who is an accomplished clay figurine artist who has taken the artistic name of Mian Ren Zhang (mianren meaning “clay figurine”)—taught the students how to make two pre-established models.  The first was a tiny panda, which they then enclosed in a tiny framed box.  The second was a rooster.  Some of the students also made other animals, such as snakes and birds.  Some of our students especially love art, and I particularly enjoyed watching the talent and enthusiasm of Victoria Bullock, Shannon, David, and Max. 


After working with clay for about an hour and a half, the students walked back to the “dorm” for our next activity: a lesson on Chinese religion.  Tomorrow we are going to visit two active religious sites in Beijing: a mosque and a Buddhist temple.  In preparation for this outing, I introduced the students to the history of Chinese religions, beginning with a Ming painting of the sanjiao —the three religions and their masters, Laozi, Sakyamuni, and Confucius—and discussed these three systems as the “three legs” of Chinese religion.  Hao Ran, who has really studied a great deal about China, rightly pointed out to me that not everyone considers Confucianism a religion.  So I folded my justification for its inclusion into the later part of my lecture on ancestor worship and Chinese folk beliefs about ghosts, which are historically very real to Chinese and very important, as are the rites that can transform a deceased relative into an ancestor instead of a hungry ghost.  We discussed some of the fundamentals of Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism and also talked about how, historically, the Chinese state has always sought to control both the gods and religion through such things as imperial sacrifices, the establishment of a state pantheon, and the labeling of certain practices and gods as “heterodox” (this is not just a Communist thing).  We then talked about religion under Mao and the early PRC and finally arrived at how religion operates in present-day China—the popularity and vitality of religious practices in rural and urban China and some of the reasons why it may benefit the party-state to support and encourage certain religious communities and practices.


We’ve been working with your children on “expanding their circle of influence” here in the program by being proactive and risk-taking in their creating desired activities and opportunities.  We and are happy to report that two of our campers (Jack and William) successfully brought about a much-desired game of hoops on the courts at the neighboring Beijing International Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Almost everyone turned out to either play or watch (except for me, who stayed back to write up yesterday’s update while Elaine played flashlight tag with Zhouzhou in our room—sorry, but I have no play-by-play to report on the game itself !).  Suffice it to say that your children arrived to dinner at 6:30 with huge appetites and nice-smelling hair (many having showered off their court-sweat on the way to dinner).


Great dinner: dried tofu skins with green peppers and small pieces of chicken; egg and tomatoes; beef and potatoes with that delicious anise flavor; bok choy and one other green; rice (of course);  fried mantou with condensed milk sauce (yum!); and ending with a plate of watermelon slices.


The students arrived at 7:30 on the third floor for reflection and were met with a surprise: the return of our beloved Chinese puzzle teacher. He had three other puzzle teachers with him—all former students—and they had one and only one puzzle to share tonight.  It is an interesting ring puzzle, with a string of interconnected metal rings that are attached to a metal pole.  The trick is to separate the rings, one (or two) at a time, from the pole.  This puzzle requires the player to unlock the pattern or sequence of moves necessary to release the rings and then the focus and patience to concentrate on repeating the pattern until all of the rings are free.  This puzzle teacher is amazing.  He has a wonderful combination of patience and exuberance.  He clearly delights in supporting children learning these mind games and celebrated each and every child’s accomplishments, beaming with pleasure when he saw them gaining insights into the patterns.  He was as impressed with our group (“Tamen hen congming!”) as I was with his teaching. He did eventually write the pattern on the white board inChinese for students to follow: yi shang, yi er xia, donghou yi shang, yi er shang, yi xia, donghou yi shang. But still, it  required a great deal of focus and understanding to unlock it.  Shannon and Lionel are the only ones in the group who knew the solution before tonight’s lesson, but it was delightful to watch the sheer joy of your children as they brought that last ring off of the pole, completing the puzzle.  Benoit was the first of this year’s crew to accomplish this, followed next by Elaine, Rebecca, and Mingming.  I also had the pleasure of witnessing Jason Q, William, Yvonne, Linlin, and Liao Laoshi at the precious moment when they finally accomplished the objective and experienced the pure joy of accomplishment.  Many other students successfully completed this puzzle tonight (I know Lauren and Victoria S also succeeded), and others are still working on it.  You might ask your child what it felt like to work so long to accomplish separating the rings. What did it feel like to finally understand the pattern, but still have to focus to complete the puzzle?  What did it feel like the moment you succeeded?  What was your experience of putting the rings back on the puzzle after you had just finished the challenge of separating them?


I’ve included some photos of this memorable day.




Colette (Mei Laoshi)


68 Records (68 pages) [start] << 1 Back - 41 42 43 44 45 - Next 1 >> [end]