Written by: John McEnhill, Primary Coordinator
Welcome to YCIS, Sheryl! Can you tell us a little about your background, and how you have come to be in Shanghai?
Currently, I am the K2 Co-Year Leader and K2C International co-teacher at YCIS Pudong. Nearly 9 years ago, I joined YCIS Qingdao as an Early Childhood (ECE) teacher. That was a wonderful opportunity to extend my teaching experience to include international education. After 4 years, I was offered the opportunity to lead the ECE team in addition to the class co-teacher position. Prior to that, I was the owner of a pre-school and a swim school focusing on pre-school children in South Africa. My husband lives and works in South Africa and we meet up several times in the year to visit different countries. Our son moved to Shanghai to complete his degree and currently works in Suzhou, China.
What did you enjoy about your time at YCIS Qingdao?
At YCIS Qingdao, I became familiar with the YCIS unique approach to international schooling; the importance of play-based learning in ECE and the importance of a collaborative co-teacher relationships. In Qingdao, I had the opportunity to work with teachers from different countries and establish layouts of several new classrooms.
What differences and similarities have you found between YCIS Qingdao and YCIS Pudong?
Both schools are focused on making families feel welcome and have a high emphasis on maintaining communication with them. This home to school partnership supports the children’s learning and ‘sense of belonging’. The leadership staff at both schools have been supportive, patient and understanding with regards to personal and professional issues. The obvious differences between the two schools are those of size, layout, number of children and staffing. Due to these differences, the schools have adapted their routines and use of ‘spaces’ accordingly.
You work with our youngest students, in K2. What do you especially enjoy about this role and why do you think it is important?
Most of the K2 children that join the school are ‘leaving’ their families, familiar home environment, and routine for the first time since they were born. The K2 teachers are in the privileged position of ensuring a smooth, stable transition from home to school. It’s especially rewarding to scaffold and reflect on the language, personal, social and emotional development of the K2 children.
You have been here now for a couple of months-can you share with us your first impressions of the school and especially the students and parents?
With thanks to the supportive parents of the children in my class, my first couple of months have been wonderful. They have shared information about their children with my co-teacher and myself. This has helped their children as well as myself to settle into our new environment.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Walking is one of the best ways to explore new places and I look forward to exploring Shanghai and other cities in China. I enjoy watching movies, growing plants and trying different kinds of food.