Beijing-born economics professor and Chinese dance instructor, Ocean Lu, brings an exciting new approach to early childhood education in Victoria, one that marries the best of Eastern and Western educational philosophies to integrate math and the arts.
Set to open this April on Shelbourne Street near McKenzie Avenue. The International Daycare Centre at the Ocean Rain Arts Academy comes equipped with four carefully designed classrooms for infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children, as well as a full studio where Lu will teach dance and Tai Chi-inspired martial arts as part of her early childhood educational programs.
With a multicultural approach that celebrates the diversity of students from all backgrounds, Lu’s daycare programs will teach kids how math and the arts are inextricably linked, helping preschoolers develop instinctual math literacy through dance, martial arts, painting, music and the language arts.
“In China, math and the arts are not separated,” says Lu, who says her early training in the precise steps and movements of traditional Chinese dance taught her math concepts like counting, geometric lines and precise angles at a young age. “Asian teachers plant math concepts into every single thing kids touch,” she says. By the time Chinese children enter Kindergarten, they know their multiplication tables and understand math skills most Canadian children don’t learn until about grade four.
But Lu says the Chinese education system is not without its flaws. “Chinese children are all expected to be geniuses. The pressure is enormous! The advantage is that teachers must be creative in their approach. They’ve developed many tricks to help kids grasp concepts at an early age.” For example, teachers use songs and rhymes to help preschoolers memorize their multiplication tables.
Later on, when math gets more complex, kids can easily recall the basic concepts.
By contrast, Lu says the Canadian educational system tends to greatly underestimate children, and teachers lack the incentive to be creative since students are only expected to achieve average skill levels. But there is a greater emphasis on learning through play, and Canadian kids don’t suffer from the enormous pressure of a high-achiever mindset.
Lu hopes to balance the best of both systems and has already tested her novel approach on her college-aged economics students with great success. “When children are young, their brains are like sponges,” she says. “My approach is that I don’t make assumptions about what kids are capable of. Instead, I nurture each child at whatever level they are at so they can truly discover what they can learn.”
Registration for Ocean Rain International Daycare is now open, with room for 24 infants and toddlers on a full-time basis, and 16 full-time spots for kids aged three to five. Through her Arts Academy, Lu also offers after school care for elementary-aged children, an academic tutoring program for middle-school kids, and classes in Chinese dance and martial arts for kids and adults.
Enter for your chance to win two free weeks of childcare when Ocean Rain International Daycare opens its doors.
To enter for your chance to win two free weeks of childcare from Ocean Rain International Daycare, do at least one of the following:
1. Like Ocean Rain Arts & Education on Facebook. Leave a comment below telling us once you have. (1 entry)
2. Leave a comment below telling us how many kids you have that are in daycare or need daycare service. (1 entry)
GRAND OPENING TODAY
There will be a grand opening ribbon ceremony of Ocean Rain Arts & Education Center at 3:30 p.m. on April 18th at 3941 Shelbourne Street. Underground and side road free parking available. Light refreshments provided.