The start of every year (this being our tenth year in Shanghai and our official seventh year) is a great time to reflect and look forward to the future. Over the summer break, we have been hard at work developing new programs and services, enhancing our learning center both for our children and their parents, and bringing in additional specialists and experts. We are excited for another year of challenges and breakthroughs as we greet new and returning families alike and get to work.
Over the summer break, we have worked to deliver exciting new learning opportunities to our children. For older children, we have introduced new programs in life skills and vocational training, hoping to better prepare them for adulthood. The older children now learn on the ground floor, so that they have greater independence and expanded access to recreational and life-skills facilities, such as food preparation facilities and doing chores.
At the other end, we expanded our early intervention program to include a full day. Our program for Chinese children has also expanded into two programs, one for teens and one for younger children. We are introducing after school programs and more inclusion activities.
We have introduced new balance and vibrancy to our learning environment. Before the summer, we brought in a well known, published feng shui expert. While many Westerners may not “believe” in feng shui, it is important to many of our Chinese clients. I was skeptical at first but her advice has made a big difference. Our lobby and reception areas were expanded to have a better feel and provide more privacy, especially for those parents who spend a lot of time in the lobby. New play and therapy areas were expanded, a fresh coat of paint and color was spread across our walls, and we tore down some walls to make larger learning rooms. We also added observation windows so now parents can watch our educators and specialists in action.
Finally, we continue to grow as a true international organization with professional staff joining us from Canada, Argentina, The United States, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Germany, and South Africa, adding to staff from other countries such as Holland, France, Pakistan, Philippines and Israel. We are proud to welcome them and excited to see the contributions each will make to our already diverse community.
We are delighted by all of these developments, and we welcome one and all into ELG for all of the great things we will accomplish this year.