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Travel Around the World with Summer Ya Ya

2023 Summer Destination: Taiwan

This summer, we decided to launch our “Travel Around the World” series with the goal of taking our children to “visit” an international or domestic destination every year. Naturally, Taiwan became our very first stop.

Young children are full of curiosity and they need a ton of opportunities to discover, experiment, and learn new knowledge and skills through hands-on activities. More importantly, they need access to real life situations where they can practice the Mandarin they learn in their classrooms. Although it was unrealistic for us to actually take the children to Taiwan, we did everything we could to bring an authentic Taiwan experience to our school. Guided by our progressive education model that focuses on experiential learning, our teachers and education team thoughtfully designed the curriculum, activities, and the experience room so that we could bring elements of Taiwan to life for the children.

During the past year, our teachers have never ceased to amaze us with the design of our experience room based on each topic. However, I can say with confidence that the experience room for the Taiwan topic was by far the most impressive. The teachers transformed the entire room into a night market which is a symbolic attraction in Taiwan. There was a bubble tea stand, a grilling station, and a children’s folk game area. Throughout the summer, the children were busy making yummy bubble tea with toppings they love, selling delicious skewers that catered to people with different dietary preferences, engaging in traditional Taiwanese night market games such as pinball, fishing, etc. These pretend play opportunities allowed children to immerse themselves in real life experiences that were meaningful and relevant to the topic they were studying.

The children’s learning experiences were elevated further when one of our teachers live streamed from Shi Lin Night Market (士林夜市) in Taipei. They saw many of the experience room activities come to life and they were able to name some of the night market games and food items in Mandarin. One of the best ways to understand a new culture is through food. Therefore, we taught the children how to make Taiwan Braised Pork Rice (肉燥飯), Aiyu Jelly (愛玉冰), and sweet potato and taro balls (地瓜圓和芋圓).

These experiential learning activities and more made this summer extra memorable for our children and teachers. Many of the children left our summer program wanting to plan a trip to Taiwan. Some of them did end up going to Taiwan with their family. And we’ve received anecdotes from parents about how their children were able to recognize Taipei 101, Tainan Anping Tree House, and Sword Lion. We can’t wait to continue our around the world trip next summer! What would the next destination be? You will find out soon!

CLICK the right arrow to enjoy the slideshow that includes photos from the summer.

Summer Field Trip Spotlight - Little Island

Since we cannot physically visit the island of Taiwan, we decided to take the big kids to visit a more accessible island, Little Island in New York! Little Island is a floating public park located on the Hudson River, where everyone can experience nature and art in a unique urban oasis setting. We arrived at Little Island via subway and we started the trip by enjoying a snack picnic in the shade. Then, we got right on our scavenger hunt tasks. There was much to explore and our favorite discoveries were the piano, the Dance Chimes, and the Spinning Disc. To remember the experience, we found a comfortable place in the park and recorded our fondest memories with drawings. We concluded the trip by visiting Market 57 and tasting delicious ice cream from Chelsea Market.


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