• by Ethel Huerta
  • 08 April 2016

A Peek Inside The Early Learning Program at BASIS International School Shenzhen

My name is Ethel Huerta. I am a PK1 teacher at BASIS International School Shenzhen. I have compiled a collection of stories, examples, and pictures from my classroom to help depict a day in the life of a PK1 student at BASIS International School Shenzhen.

Our kids are very active! We begin each day sitting "crisscross applesauce" for calendar time, where we discuss days of the week, months of the year, the weather, and so much more! Most of our students sit still, engaged with our dynamic lessons and activities, but we're understanding that some students need to do some standing and moving to get the jitters out (while still learning, of course)!

One of the activities we do in math. It involves tracing and creating numbers on a whiteboard. It turns out that Early Learners love using whiteboards! The student in this picture really surprised me; on day one she mastered writing #8!! She wrote a few incorrectly at first, but all by herself managed to identify and correct. Our students truly are sponges. They love to try new things, to learn how to fix their own mistakes, and to celebrate each accomplishment. We also love getting familiar with letters using colorful manipulatives.

No matter the culture, play dough is a clear favorite with Early Learners. We manipulate play dough often to work on our numbers, letters, and, of course, our fine motor skills. Their favorite creations? All types of foods!

At the start of the year, we learned about bones and parts of our bodies in one of our World Discovery units. Our cutting skills were in early development at this time, so teachers assisted in cutting out the bodies, modeling how to use scissors. We enjoyed using tape to attach our “bones." It is amazing to witness how our students' cutting skills evolve!

Movement class is another favorite of our students. The photos on this page really capture the typical scenes in our movement classes.

When Ms. Ethel gives instructions, she is supported by Ms. Lin and Ms. He in ensuring that students are ready to attend and participate.

Sometimes we walk or run around the perimeter of our yard and do some exploring. Almost every day, a student will look up and notice an airplane passing by... and then we all shout: "bye bye airplane!" Students love to sit in circles, playing and exercising their bodies.

Ms. He teaches Chinese. Students love being in her class! Mr. Munoz visits us every Thursday morning for about 20-25 minutes to teach music, which involves singing, dancing, learning simple beats, and playing instruments.

Of course, we make certain to leave some time for our students to rest and recharge after so much learning and excitement. We love supporting and nurturing each of our students. They all hold a special place in our hearts. The little one shown napping is among our youngest students, she is from PK1 and has shown huge developmental leaps since joining our program. She loves being at school and she is always joyful, cheerful, and helpful.

In the pictures, you can see us learning about our five senses in STEM. Students have a blast participating in our activities testing out our five senses. We love trying different sauces, making big glasses, noses, and ears. In this lesson, we used glitter glue to demonstrate the importance of washing off germs when we touch things.

It is fun for us to sometimes change up our routine. Recently, we started to go upstairs and use the big gym for about 15-20 min twice a week. It’s great exercise to go up and down the stairs as a group (we are still working on keeping quiet in the hallways). Since the gym is a "new world" for them, they get really excited about it and have come to love and value gym time!

At the end of an action-packed day exercising our brains and bodies, students line up and wait to be picked up or go to the bus.

In a conversation with our Head of School a few days ago, I shared that I am so glad I moved to China to teach this awesome group of students and be part of the founding of such a vibrant program. I also feel so lucky to have two co-teachers that love to do their jobs as much as I do!

For more pictures, please head over to our Facebook page!