CHINA STORIES: MEN AS EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHERS...
It was exactly one year ago on Nov. 17, 2010, that Mars and I flew home from Beijing, after 17 fascinating days in China, our first time there.
I had been asked by Professor Zhouya Xu, Director of Early Childhood Education at Nanjing Normal University, to come and share my repertoire of world dances with her students and early childhood teachers of southern China. I was honored to teach for four afternoons in Nanjing (250 in the workshop), and two afternoons in Dongguan (more than 300 in the workshop).
We returned with much affection for our new Chinese teacher friends, and just tickled to know that a lot of Chinese youngsters will now be enjoying “Sasha,” “Yesh,” “I Love a Rainy Night,” and other favorites. And we also returned with great respect for the Chinese government’s care for early childhood education there.
For instance, a few years ago the education officials decided that there were not enough young men teaching early childhood education—how’s that for a concept?! (In China, they call it “kindergarten”—children 2 to 6 years old.) The word went out that men picked to prepare for such a career would receive free university tuition, free housing, and good jobs. 13,000 guys applied and 300 were chosen, some of whom were in my workshops.
They are hot, these guys! They sing and dance like professionals, they love the little kids—not that the young women weren’t also terrific, but how great for the youngest children to see so many exceptional men teachers, also. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if there were such official encouragement and support in the U.S. for men to teach little kids?! Or anyone?!
At Sanna's Dongguan workshop, teachers enjoy the Israeli dance, Yesh Lanu Taish.
Tags: Sanna and Mars visit CHINA | Dancing in China