We sat down with preschool teacher Effi Wang in the P2 Pine Tree classroom. Effi has been teaching at PKS for nearly 6 years and comes from Hefei, China.
What makes a PKS classroom special?
We believe in little challenges to make learning more engaging. We also make the learning visible for the children, parents, and ourselves using newsletters, pictures, videos, notes, and artwork. Each preschool classroom consists of teachers, parents and children who have a very special, tight bond together. We really appreciate the parents we work with and their talents; they are a constant resource for our classroom. Last year we had one parent per week participate in one of our classroom activities.
Where did you teach before PKS?
I first taught elementary school in Anhui, China, then preschool and kindergarten in Shanghai and Suzhou. Later I moved to the U.S. and taught Mandarin in Seattle.
How does PKS’s progressive philosophy manifest in your classroom?
Our goals each year include problem solving, critical thinking, and improving social skills. We provide ample opportunities for children to do hands on projects, based on their own interests, we provide children with engaging materials, and ask them questions to provoke their thinking.
Do you have any special memories or stories about teaching at PKS?
One year one of the children picked me a flower from his family's garden. The flower has been at PKS for 6 years now. Another one of my favorite memories is thinking of an adorable, assertive young child I once taught. Sometimes when I asked her a question she would quickly duck her head and walk to another part of the room. It always brings a smile to my face to think of how cute and funny she was in that moment.
How can families who don't speak Mandarin at home support their children's learning?
- Try YouTube, there are tons of children’s songs and stories! These are some fun Chinese learning cartoons.
- Plan outings with Mandarin-speaking friends/families.
- Show interest in Chinese culture, bring home some Chinese traditions.
- Speak to other families about their strategies too, I know some parents have found very good resources to help their child learn Mandarin.
- Give your child positive feedback when you hear him/her speak Mandarin, or ask them to teach you a word in Mandarin!
What is your favorite subject to study?
I love mathematics. I am good with numbers and enjoy solving tricky math problems in order to keep my brain active and feel a sense of satisfaction when I find the solution.
What do you do for fun when you're not teaching?
I enjoy cooking spicy food at home, photography, snorkeling, camping and skiing.
What are you looking forward to this school year?
I am excited to implement some of the skills and tools I learned this summer from Project Zero Classroom.