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Autobiographical Account

Yanting Zhao


Professor Jennifer Butterly

CLD 464 - 081

Ryerson University

Dec. 3, 2019

I am Yanting Zhao who is currently a senior student in Ryerson University majoring in Early

Childhood Studies. During the past 4 years, I have finished four placement experiences including

three times in Canadian kindergarten or Daycare and one time in Chinese kindergarten. I have

been with infants, toddlers and preschoolers during my four placements. For this autobiographical

account, I would like to focus on my fourth year international placement experience which was

located in Tianjin, China. Meanwhile, I will mention my placement experiences in Canada and

make a comparison with Canadian kindergarten and Chinese kindergarten.

When I was in Canada, I was always thinking of attending placements in China. However, I

did not have enough time to plan all of this. Soon after, I received emails from Ryerson University

which was about attending international placement. I was thrilled after I learned more information

about how I could plan this international placement. I used most of my time searching online to

check some of the bilingual kindergarten and international kindergarten. I finally chose one of the

most well-known international kindergarten in Tianjin. I contacted with the principal and she

would love to have me as a placement student in their kindergarten. I then connected the principal

to Ryerson University ensuring the clauses of the agreement and the contract signing. With my

excitement, curiosity and tension about my future placement, I went to Tianjin to take part in this

international placement.

After I arrived at this International kindergarten, I found that I was not exactly nervous about

the new learning environment. All of my colleagues were treating me nicely, and they always

would like to introduce their kindergarten passionately. Thus, for the first week of the placement,

I have learned plenty of things including their culture, education value and method as well as

reading through their rules about safety, communication between teachers-children and teachers-


For the first week, I walked into different classrooms to do some observations of teachers/nurse

and children getting used to their daily routines. For the rest of the placement, I was assigned to a

junior class of kindergarten.

When I first walked into the classroom for my first day, my ECE encouraged me to introduce

myself to the fellow teachers and children. They hugged me and made me feel welcome. Then, a

few children came towards me and asked me whether I would like to read books with them. I was

so thrilled that I could integrate into the collective space. After we read books for a few minutes,

children were required to wash their hands and sit down getting ready for having breakfast. While

the nurse in the classroom were preparing for meals in the kitchen, children were all sitting quietly

at their table singing their school song and morning songs. Several children were waiting their

breakfast anxiously so they sang songs loudly. However, the ECE reminded these children to sing

slightly and quietly along with the music. After they sang for few minutes, the nurse came into the

classroom with hot meal. Then, all of the children in the classroom said “Thank you, Ms. Lee.” all

together and their nurse said “You are welcome, boys and girls”. I thought this was unbelievable

that children and teachers were so polite to each other.

It was time to have breakfast and all of the children were sitting quietly and waiting for their

food. However, several children already had breakfast so teachers/nurse asked the whole class

whether they had breakfast at home and they were required to raise their hands. I saw a few hand

raising and they carried their chairs to the reading corner reading a book quietly. At this time, other

children were still having breakfast. If children want something more, they were asked to raise

“rock, paper, scissors”. For example, if they raise a “rock” which means they would like more

main food. “Paper” means soup and “scissors” means vegetable.


After the breakfast, it would be the time for their outdoor play. Children went to the playground

to do some exercises. After they came back to the classroom, they would have their English class

with a foreign teacher. They sang and danced together. For each day, children would learn two

new words and review words that they have learned before. They learned and reviewed English

words by holding a game. Children were sitting in a big circle and the foreign teacher was sitting

in the middle. The foreign teacher had a ball in his hand. The child who gets the ball will have a

chance to answer questions from the foreign teacher. Children were so excited and they all wanted

a turn to catch the ball from the teacher. The game was interesting and children could learn while


After the English class, children would have breakfast and take a nap. After they slept for two

whole hours, they would start to have math lessons. During this time, ECE would explain their

new math knowledge point and children would practice on their exercise books with questions on

it (They normally take a test once every two days). After they finish their exercises, they would

submit to the ECE and the ECE would make the correction of their work where they made a mis-


After the math class, children would have some free play time. At this time, the ECE and the

nurse of the classroom would be separated with one in the playground and one in the classroom.

Children could make a decision of where they would like to play. Besides, children could play

until their relatives came to pick them up.

Surprisingly, twenty five days of placement have passed quickly. In fact, I have learned a lot

about the differences between Canadian kindergarten and Chinese kindergarten.

Primarily, I would like to compare about the classes that children are taken. Little Golden Star

has separated children’s activity into special classes such as math class, music class, English class,

etc. For example, children have math class (logical mathematics). ECEs take children to review

what they have learned before. They learn from number one to number twenty. They also learn to

count things from a picture (For instance, ECE holds a math book with a picture on it. There are

blue butterflies, flowers and other plants. Children are asked to count how many butterflies, flow-

ers, etc. in the picture. Most of the children are able to count the numbers out loud pretty fast.

However, I was worried about other children who cannot or are not familiar with counting num-

bers.) After their review, ECEs hand in children’s exercise books with questions for children to

solve. However, Canadian kindergarten even Daycare never takes classes. Given my previous

placement experiences, children always play while learning things. For example, in terms of math,

children have plenty of toys about counting and recognizing numbers. In Canada, children are able

to learn by themselves without much teaching from ECEs. Toys such as puzzles and magnet about

numbers are meaningful for children to learn math. In addition, during large group time, children

can also learn how to count and recognize numbers. ECE will give each child a number and let

them memorize what the number looks like. After giving each child a number, ECE will ask for

their permission to take their number back. At this time, children can review the number they have

in their hands. All of the children in the classroom are able to learn the numbers they have and

other children’s numbers as well. There are over 17 children in a classroom in a typical classroom

with 3 teachers tops. Thus, no matter how old are the children in the classroom, they all can learn

about numbers above ten even children who are 2 years old. Sometimes, in order to let children

learn more numbers, all of the teachers in the classroom will also get a number (maybe a new

number from 18 to 20). Children can take a look at what teachers’ have in their hands and memo-

rize the look and pronunciation of the number.


Moreover, there are some differences on having food between Chinese kindergarten and Cana-

dian kindergarten. In Little Golden Star Kindergarten, children and teachers both do things in order

and neat. For example, during breakfast, children are sitting on their chairs quietly and waiting for

ECEs to serve food. Also, children are not allowed to talk or talk loudly while having food. If they

talk loudly, ECEs in the classroom will remind them not to talk too loud, which is distracting.

After having food, children are required to sit properly. Today, when children were having break-

fast, one of the children put his leg on the right side of the chair. ECE saw how he sat on a chair.

She walked towards the child and move his leg to let him sit properly. Moreover, when a child

needs something more, he or she would raise his or her hand and ask for more. This is a really

polite behavior for both children and teachers in which children will not be distracted or even have

a choke and teachers can give children what they want one by one in a good manner without

shouting/screaming to each other. After having food, children are asked to put their bowl and spoon

in the right place and wash their hands. Then, children will go back to their seats. Teachers in the

classroom will remind children who are putting their elbows on the table because the table is dirty

after having food. Little Golden Star uses militarized management. However, in Canada, children

always chat with each other while having food. ECEs do not think this is an inappropriate thing to

do. Canadian ECEs want children to communicate more often with each other. Thus, when chil-

dren are having food, the classroom is always crowded and lively. People always chat with others.

When children want more, they will not raise their hands and wait for teachers to come over. They

will talk to the serving teacher loudly, “MORE XX PLEASE”. If the serving teacher is busy serv-

ing other children, the teacher will show the child a hand gesture telling him to wait. Moreover,

Canadian ECEs want to give children their freedom on doing what they want to play with. Cana-

dian children always would love to pick things that they really like to play with. Canadian profes-

sionals believe that children can explore their potential while playing with things that they are

really interested in.

In addition, I would like to discuss about guns playing. In Little Golden Star, most of the boys

are interested in playing with guns. They also know about the video game called “Chiji”. They are

so familiar with different kinds of guns. Today, one of the children told me that his favorite is 98K

and his parents “chidaoji” (means his parents are the champion of the game yesterday evening).

ECE does not seem to stop children from playing with guns. They also encourage children to bring

their favorite toy to school so that children could share their toys with their friends. Most of boys

in the classroom bring guns to the school. ECEs only remind children that they should never use

guns to hit other people deliberately. They should be really careful while playing with it. However,

in Canada. Children are never allowed to use guns no matter under what kind of circumstances.

During my previous placement experiences, all of my Field Educators told me that if we found

children who are tending to use guns or the hand gestures of guns, we should report this immedi-

ately to the placement site. Then, the placement site will allocate a psychologist to the child and

eliminate all the knowledge about guns as well as the danger of guns. In addition, in the Canadian

kindergarten or daycare classroom, there are not allowed to play any things about being violence

including the play of guns.

Lastly, Chinese kindergarten’s outdoor play is much different than Canadian kindergarten. In

Little Golden Star, children are not allowed to run and jump on the playground even in the class-

room. If children would like to do some climbing, they should ask for their ECE’s permission and

the ECE will stand by them watching and protecting. It is worth noting that children are not al-

lowed to climb on a facilities together assuredly but separately making a line beside the facility.

However, in Canadian kindergarten, children are able to play whatever they like without any per-

mission including jumping, climbing, running, etc. There are two similar things that I noticed in

kindergarten from Canada and China. One thing is children should never climb up the slides. It is

a dangerous thing to do for children. In both kindergartens from Canada and China, all of

ECEs/teachers would remind children who climb up the slides to go down and play other outdoor

activities. The other one is that children from Chinese kindergarten and Canadian kindergarten

always do some exercises along with music during outdoor play. Children in Little Golden Star do

some exercises with football along with music at least twice a week. Doing morning exercises or

afternoon exercises is beneficial for children’s health. The article of Longer exercise provides

added benefit to children's health (2012, Sep 18) discussed that doing more physical exercises can

reduce the possibilities of having diabetes. It also states that doing an extra 20 minutes of physical

exercise could help children lose more body fat.

During the time of my international placement in Tianjin, I found out two meaningful things

for Canadian kindergarten to learn. Initially, during children’s transition time, I observed that chil-

dren were always required to drink a whole bottle of water before starting another activity. A study

(Walters K., & Cram G., 2002) shows the importance of encouraging children to drink water. They

support that having a good drinking habit is important for children's well-being. Also, children in

Little Golden Star always greet and bow fervently to teachers/nurses they see in the hallway with-

out asking. They show their politeness to teachers/ECEs.



Longer exercise provides added benefit to children's health. (2012, Sep 18). Targeted News

Service Retrieved from



Walters, K., & Cram, G. (2002). Drinking water in schools: Hygiene standards at fountains.

Nutrition and Food Science, 32(1), 9.