Friday, February 24, 2017

Update!

Hello Everyone!

It's been a very long time since I have visited this blog.

Thank you for everyone who still requests to use my materials in 2017!

I have some really EXCITING news to share with all my blog viewers...

This might come as a surprise to a lot of people and even I am still putting it all together in my mind.

I am opening a child care centre and school of arts with my colleague!

We will be called...*drum roll*

"WOLO School Of Arts & Flexible Child Care Learning Centre"

I have been working on this project since 2014, but the full vision came to me in January of 2013. However, 10 years ago I already thought about one day building a school...somewhere.

Wow, the journey to get to this point has been very long and inspiring. I do really want to share this part of the journey really soon...before I forget how it started and how I got here. It has been a very humbling, overwhelming, and inspiring experience. I think back at how I was able to suspend all beliefs for several years...believing and never giving up. Not even the thought of it...and now I feel like my brain is wired for finding positive connections and meanings in life. It is almost as if I trained myself to just keep going. I feel like I might have always been like this as a child. Any problems? No problem. I WILL figure my way out and on my own terms. How stubborn eh? LOL

Now, I feel like I am paying now for my entrepreneur education/tuition but it is not a school. It is real life! I seriously feel it is the best experience...having the ability to do what you love, keep learning, provide value, and also make a living. That's what I strive for...a whole package!

On a side note and a little more story time.

Who I was before we started and who I am now is a completely different person. There are a lot of life events/experiences and beliefs/philosophies of thinking that really pushed me to go for my dreams. I am not going to lie...I work on my projects about 80-90 hours a week. It is what it is if I want to make it happen... Yes, I do teach full-time so I just keep drilling away at it.

I always remind myself...if I am telling kids to follow their dreams and to be yourself. Then you know? I also have to be the change for that belief to be valid. For me, I would never say something unless I believe in it whole heartedly. Now, I am not a perfect person so it's not a never say never kind of thing, but I do really think about how I am and what kind of an effect I can/do have around my kids, families, community, and the world.

To me...another defining time would be going through depression twice over a period of almost 7 years, challenging myself to overcome my fears by taking action and accepting my failures. Yes, I have failed and I died two weeks ago...so life is just like that. Take chances if you believe in your goals and dreams and BELIEVE in your visions and your ability to BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD. This quote guides me...there are many things that I remind myself which guides me and gives me the strength to keep going. It never feels like work but instead feels like I am working on being a better person and finding my value in the world.

This short snippet might not make sense...as imagine condensing 7 years of intense learning and restructuring of my mind and reality. The hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life from my current memory was going through depression. Thinking about it brings back memories of how I kept chipping at it to will myself out of that state of mind. I am not afraid or ashamed to share about this now because I was eventually able to will myself out of it due to intense focus and hard work. Never giving up on myself and always keeping in mind that if I can figure out how to heal myself, then I can, in turn, help others in the future. Now, I see what I meant when I thought of that... I am a huge advocate for mental health. I know how it feels...and I am not going to compare myself to everyone else in the world. I just know that...when you hit rock bottom. You have two choices: Stay for awhile...maybe forever OR keep chipping away and believing that you will overcome it. I have been in both and I think this part of me...and just going for your dreams without focusing too much on what everyone thinks is how I am going to keep growing.

I LOVE what I do. I LIVE it. I BREATHE it. I DREAM it.

I know I am just at the beginning of my new project but I want to create memories to remind myself of this humbling time...and to remind myself that I did not get here by a stroke of luck. I hustled and am still hustling. I work hard and while many people may be sleeping...I am up working on my dreams and goals. Why do I have so much courage? Because of many life experiences and because I want to challenge myself to create something out of nothing. To create something out of nothing is to me...fundamentally the core of human experience. To create something out of nothing while being ourselves...just another form of artistic expression of oneself. I practice every day on how to be a better person and I also practice every day to be mindful of what I say and do. I am inspired by my students and families...but I am so extremely thankful and appreciative of my friends, family, partners, mentors, and just everyone in and not in my life anyone.

I wanted to stay professional and keep it simple. But, you know it's not me if I keep things quiet. There is nothing humbling about keeping things quiet if I can inspire or help others to be their best self. People harshly judge the ego but sometimes the ego can have the desire to make the world/community a better place. Before we judge others, it's best to just work on ourselves. In the end, we all die. I know because I almost died 2 weeks ago...and that near death experience has now made me even MORE inspired to share more.

Can you imagine that in 2013, I was deadly afraid of sharing anything about myself (besides teaching) to an online audience/clientele? A lot has changed...

If there's one thing that I can suggest everyone do this year...that is to DO ONE THING that is out of your reality. It is not going to happen instantly but plans for it and get help with it. ACTION is the only reason why things happen in one's life. And if your actions are INTENTIONAL than you will always know that you did it on your OWN TERMS and that you are the change you wish to be in this world. No leader will ever be able to take about your own inner EMPOWERMENT and it is through consistent EFFORTS to trust and believe that the world becomes a better place.

If you have read this far, then you are indeed already in the same energy or seeking a similar energy. Best of luck and I am happy to share more if required.

NOTE: I am not editing grammar. I just don't care for this blog nor do I care if you have issues with it. My thoughts, my words, and my life. No, I cannot be bothered.

NOTE 2: I just re-read and I am not making changes. However, I noticed I wrote I died two weeks ago...in some way, this is a very profound thought/experience. Of course, I did not physically die but it seems to me almost like a real life metaphor/analogy of many things. At that point, I really experienced what I felt like to be near death experience. Time slows down and I was able to have thoughts...while also observing the reality that I would die at that moment. I was the most CALM I have ever been... I wondered if our body knows that when we are about to die, a release of serotonin or some chemical perhaps fills our body? I was so at peace. Then suddenly, that reality of death was averted and I was in shock/numb.  I did not freak out or make a peep. So, in one reality...I did die or I would have got seriously injured which would seriously impact on what I am doing now. But, in this current reality, I did not and the death experience was averted. There is a story behind this story...but still I think anytime you meet death, it changes your life. Almost like another layer of yourself gets unraveled and you just don't care anymore. Any moment you can die...and if I don't be myself and live my dreams or at least GO for it then I just am not being my true self. I guess more clarification was required for this post on that topic.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Hello & Welcome back!

Hello Everyone,

If you are curious as to what I have been up to for awhile now, please feel free to click on the following links.

www.wonderoflearning.ca

My friend Monica Wong and I got together because of our mutual teaching passions and we have co-created Reggio-inspired learning programs for young children and primary school children in Vancouver, BC. This is a very exciting time for us as we are exploring new adventures.

www.happykeysmusic.ca

I am working with Happy Keys Music to share my love of teaching piano. I love working with new beginners and the excitement that we create together. I believe learning the piano needs to be fun, engaging, and interesting for children!

I will come back to update you more on my Reggio adventures! Stay tuned.

Donna

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hello! :)


Hi Everyone!!!

It's been awhile and I know I have neglected the blog... but I have some exciting news and updates to share with you all if you're interested. :) Also, stay tuned for a recap visit to Opal School in Portland too! So exciting!!!

Hope you all are having a wonderful summer.

A reminder to self...

Follow my passions!
Be committed to following my highest excitement at every moment!

Sincerely,
Donna Huang

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Visiting Reggio Inspired K &1 Class! (Pictures - Part 2)

Just thought I would share more of the pictures that I took from my visit to a K and Grade 1 Reggio inspired class! Enjoy :) 

Love the idea!
Giving trees a voice!
Documentation...
Kindergarten Wall...
Kindergarten Area...
More documentation placed on childrens' eye level
I saw this on pinterest! Good to see it being applied!
Love the look of this art area!
Kindergarten Observation with a special tool that allows them to look closer... I don't remember what it was called.
So neat!
More documentation!
I don't quite remember what this was for... I think they were answering questions and writing their responses.
I love the 'Wonder Wall'! Exactly what I believe is needed in every classroom!
Children exploring and building with natural elements.
Reusing materials!
The kindergarten children created their own books! Love class made books.
Love it!
Very neat! The children learned a lot about dolphins and I learned a lot from them through their documentations.
That's it! Hope you enjoyed the pictures. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Reggio Emilia Approach Video

Check out this video for more information on Reggio Emilia Approach. 
Video is in Italian with English subtitles.


Visiting Reggio Inspired K &1 Class! (Pictures - Part 1)

I had the opportunity to attend a workshop at Brentwood Park Elementary School in Burnaby where a group of K-1 teachers and libarians have started a pilot project where Reggio Emilia philosophy of learning into their classrooms.

If you don't know what Reggio Emilia is, they recently had a traveling exhibition at New Westminster's River Market last year and I also had the opportunity to attend the workshop. I took some pictures and will upload them in another blog post.

I am fascinated by their philosophy of teaching but I have never visited a Reggio Emilia inspired classroom before so this opportunity to do was very special to me.

I was very amazed by how one grade 1 teacher and her EA transformed their classroom. Every space used had meaning and the children were superbly confident and at ease. When I first stepped into the classroom, I was immediately approached by a little boy named N and he was incredibly out-going and sweet. He showed me how to make a penguin and introduced me to the luminescent room which was so neat! I felt like I was in a different place as it was lit with children's artwork such as paintings and jellyfishes. Then I was approached by another child named J who introduced me to the documentation process of their learning which was displayed across their wall. It was really interesting to hear about J talk about what they did in class and what they were learning. I was also introduced to the 'Wonder Wall' which were a series of questions posed by the students in the class. Definitely a lot of inquiry-based learning was going on which is why I am quite attracted to this philosophy of learning.

Anyways, it was amazing to finally see a Reggio inspired classroom and I came out of it truly inspired. The grade 1 teacher told us that her student's negative behaviours diminished because the students' voices were heard and acknowledged more. Reggio inspired teachers really emphasize on listening to their students and following what they are interested in. That is truly amazing!

In my opinion, I feel this progressive approach which really is like inquiry-based learning is what is needed in education along with mindfulness education. Children have a lot to contribute to this world and allowing them to have exploration time as oppose to the traditional centres is a great way to encourage their curiosity and imagination. Looking things in different ways and experiencing while learning is important! You would be surprised but there is actually a lot of technological tools used as well as natural resources. It's an amalgamation of of all senses and more!

I would love to visit the city of Reggio Emilia in Italy one day! Time to start saving money and making it happen! I am truly inspired and on my way to learning more each of how children learn and can contribute to the world.

Here are some pictures for your curiosity. Thank you to the teachers and school for showing us and inviting us into your classrooms!

Grade 1 students write questions for us teachers to ask them about... 
I've seen these done on Pinterest! But very neat to see them done in real life. Love the ideas of using natural materials.

Kindergarten version of the above!

The 'Bioluminescence' room... love the use of space and this child was super enthusiastic to share what he's learned!


Documentation of them being at the aquarium!
Showing us how to make animal shapes!



Another part of the wall where inquiry questions are asked and answered  by the children as their learning progresses on the topic! They are learning about sea creatures. 

Love the idea!
On a side note: In this classroom, the teacher's desk was placed in the center and the student's desks all curved around the teacher. She told me she found it the most helpful in connecting with the students! Experimentation in the process is key!

Use of space in the classroom... there was so much to look at!

Raw Earthy Materials for the Children to use and explore with!

I loved this station! To help children with their writing, they are encouraged to write 'How to' books!

I love their ideas... they have their own library!

Again, lots of materials and every space of the classroom has a purpose!

Here's a picture of the classroom. As you can see, the teacher's desk is not in the corner but near the middle! The draping above creates a more earthy feel! It certainly changes your mood as oppose to it being without!

In the kindergarten classroom, some shelving ideas.
Kindergarten children during their playtime! 

This is the kindergarten classroom which is also beginning to be Reggio inspired! 

The light room area for more exploration of objects and their properties! Documentation next to the wall reminds children of what they have discovered. 


They're learning about butterflies!
Using a stick to create an image... using their imagination with raw materials.


Love this artwork!

I just thought it was a neat idea to keep your young student's notes and artworks!

Some math counting books...
Stay tuned for Part 2 - more pictures!

The World Reggio Emilia Travelling Expedition

Back in the end of November of last year, I had the opportunity to attend the Reggio Emilia Travelling Expedition Professional Day Development workshop in New Westminster focusing on literacy. I absolutely loved discovering what the children were doing in their learning environments.

Somethings I learned from the exhibition that I can remember...
  • Trust the children!
  • Pedagogy of Listening - What happens during the day is not just focused on playing but on listening to each other; interplay of 'relationship and listening'
  • Pedagogy of Relationship - Important to create the space, a community, culture, and family with the world
  • Power of documentation - What deeper meaning does it have for children? Where do the children's work lead to?
  • Image of Child - Capable, inventive, and full of interesting ideas; Competent, capable of leading and suggestions
  • Teachers - Teach the 'now' and not the future; Have the image of the child as the role of the teacher
  • Environment and materials - acts as a third teacher 
  • Celebrate students as producers - What do I really value with children? i.e., beauty, materials
  • Parents have a huge say in what's going on!
What I really appreciate about the Reggio philosophy is that learning in an organic, inquisitive, and curiosity driven process which is what I studied at school - inquiry based learning. What I really love is the emphasis on the use of imagination, questioning, and acknowledging the process and not just the end product. From the Reggio classrooms that I have visited, many artworks produced by each child looked different and that's because it came from their own creative inputs with the materials supplied thus truly capturing the essence of the child's ability at the moment. This is in contrast where I had shown students an artwork that I had already created and guided the children to follow along the steps that I took to take mine. While it is important for young children to be able to follow directions, I also realized it is important to give them opportunities to create and to represent their thinking in their own ways and to document the dialogues and process. Children are learning each and every second and a snapshot of a child's progress is only a minuscule perspective of what they are capable of. I believe in the potentiality of all my students regardless and I believe talking or sharing about our learning processes allows us to care for one another and grow into a community where students listen to one another and develop those relationships.

I took many more pictures but unfortunately they are all gone because I broke my Macbook earlier last year and lost everything. These were the only images I could obtain my phone that I recently found...

Wonderful presenters...Susan & Sue
The focus of the Reggio Emilia philosophy of school.
Children being creative and making their own instruments.
Wishing Tree - what a great idea!
Exploring and playing with light, abstracts, and different objects!
Children coming up with ideas to create a light catching machine.
Here's a sample!


Exploring natural art!
Mock Setup of a Classroom Space

A recommended book to read into!