25 Oct, 2019
10 : 00
The Jenkins family, since moving here last summer, has discovered a few pockets in the capital which consist of the many famously vibrant Beijing parks, cafes and restaurants. The family of four, despite missing out on friends and family’s important milestones such as birthdays back in the Unites States, has made most of their time here, and are looking forward to more family adventures.
We spoke to them about what they like about Beijing and why they chose YCIS Beijing’s Early Childhood Education for their youngest son, Bashy.
Please introduce yourselves.We are Dan (dad), Cindy (mom), Malcolm (5 years, Y1), and Bashy (3 years, K2) Jenkins. We moved here last summer after living in California and Florida.
What brought you to Beijing?Dan is the Creative Director for part of the Universal Studios Park and Resort they're building. Mom (Cindy) worked as a Writer and Communications Strategist in the US, and I am currently writing two nonfiction books.
What do you most enjoy about living in Beijing?We have a great time exploring the city, meeting new friends and trying delicious food. Malcom and Bashy say they like their school bus.
Why did you choose YCIS Beijing’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) for your son?
● The immersive bilingual programme was absolutely our top reason. In ECE, it is just part of their day and interactions. As the younger children who speak Chinese develop their vocabulary, our son can learn along with them. ● YCIS gave us the best overall positive feeling in their ECE and Primary program, especially when we saw their play areas. The Early Childhood Center still feels part of the larger school and our younger son would really like the energy of the older kids. All the children seemed engaged and interested in every activity. Every Teacher, Administrator and Ayi impressed us when we saw how they interacted with students and each other.● That library! Not just the student’s accessibility to it, but the fact that parents can also check out books. I love it so much that I volunteer there every week to re-shelve books. I joke it’s the calmest part of my week!
How has the transition to the YCIS Beijng’s ECE been for your little ones?Both of our kids transitioned fairly easily. We were able to give them a short tour on the last day of school so they had an idea of the atmosphere. Malcolm had been in a Montessori program, but the ECE program is Bashy's first experience in school. He has really loved it! Their child-led curriculum suits him and whenever he shows interest in learning or trying or creating anything, his teachers give him the support he needs.
What would you like for your children to learn from their experience at YCIS Beijing?How hard it is to learn a language, and also how gratifying to be able to speak to people around the world! American schools don't often stress how to learn a new language, or why it's important to stretch your mind and try. Even without a set language curriculum at ECE, we are grateful for the immersion he gets, and how he learns so naturally through school. I am certain they understand more than their parents.
What changes have you seen in your child since they started kindergarten?He certainly has better impulse control, and takes turns with toys more often than not. He automatically tears off a piece of everything he gets to eat and offers to whoever is around. His focus on individual activities is sustained much longer, and the level of questioning has gotten deeper. For instance, we read a Halloween book with a scarecrow in it. We've spent three days talking about and exploring why people had scarecrows. He had that curiosity before, but now his vocabulary for asking the questions he needs is more mature.
What are you looking forward to the most living in Beijing?Malcolm says “More of my school and my learning.” I know he’s excited about some of the after-school activities! Along with the big sites to see, our family is starting to find more of the hidden treasures, either through exploring or word of mouth. The boys are learning how to enjoy getting lost and discovering new places because of it, and understand that you don’t always need a map or a plan to have a great time. Many of our friends work nearby or travel through Beijing, and it’s been great fun to show them our favorite spots!
We look forward to seeing more of the family during our school activities. If you would like to see more of mom, Cindy’s work. Visit www.cindymariejenkins.com