Xi Wang Le Yuan (Place of Hope and Happiness)
Our Education Project
At Xi Wang Le Yuan, we aim to bring out the full potential of our children, through an holistic approach that focuses on the development of the ‘whole child’. These children will contribute positively to their ‘families’ and the community and become independent and worthwhile citizens.
Our goal is to ensure that the curriculum at Xi Wang Le Yuan is dynamic and relevant and that a supportive learning environment allows the provision of quality differentiated teaching programs for our students. This requires that, to the best of our ability, we will learn as much as we can about each child and create flexible learning programs that will cater for their individual strengths and weaknesses.
History of Xi Wang Le Yuan (formally known as The COAT school of Hope)
In 2002, an Australian businessman gave a donation to employ a teacher to provide activities and teaching to the children in the orphanage. The Welfare Institution had moved to beautiful facilities where there was sufficient space to make classrooms and a large activities room where therapy and games could happen. At first, we had four staff members who had been ayis, but, with some training in education and therapy, they began to make a difference in the lives of children who were too ill and/or disabled to access education and healing to improve their lives and to reach the highest potential possible.
The aim was also to allow these children to be part of China’s future as this great nation takes its place on the world’s stage.
Several organisions came together to donate equipment both for classrooms and the therapy facilities. COAT sponsored all the wages of the staff, the number of which quickly grew to 15. Training of staff took several forms. COAT sponsored training in therapy by sending staff to various courses. The orphanage also sponsored several people to study short courses in various fields. Teams of foreigners often took part in training of staff as they drew on various fields of expertise. The COAT School of Hope became official in 2003, with the grand opening ceremony attended by various important officials from the Jiaozuo government. The emphasis at this time was on healing and because of the great work done by the staff, many children can now walk and learn to live in more independent ways.
As the name implied, this was a place where “hope” became a reality. Everyone, from the highest official down to the smallest child, felt “hope” when in the COAT School of Hope.
In 2007, it became law that all employees were entitled to a pension fund, medical insurance, pregnancy insurance and workers’ compensation. This put a huge strain on many companies. COAT made a commitment that all staff in the COAT School of Hope would be given these benefits in spite of the fact that it was going to cost an extra 400Y per employee per month.
Due to unforeseen circumstances and the need to provide a school for non-walking children in our Eagles Wings Foster Homes, The COAT School of Hope relocated to a new location and became “Xi Wang Le Yuan”, ("Place of Hope and Happiness”) in 2010. COAT employed some teachers with higher qualifications with the intent to raise the educational standard in academic ways as well has promote physical healing. In spite of any disability, every child is important to us so that they all have a chance of hope and happiness.
In mid 2013, great changes occurred for our school Xi Wang Le Yuan. In conjunction with the registration of COAT in China, Director Li invited COAT to take over responsibility for management of the Orphanage School to include our Eagles Wings children with the school age children from the Orphanage. This involved movement of our school operations to the much larger and more user friendly, 7th floor of the Government building at Dong Fang. The rooms were renovated and painted and set up with electronic whiteboards and projectors for each classroom.
Resources from both the old orphanage school and the original Xi Wang Le Yuan were moved across and new resources purchased to enable school to begin with six classes from the start of the school year in September 2013.
In late 2013, we received a large monetary grant to enable us to set up a library, also on the 7th floor. This has been fitted out with shelving, furniture, computer equipment and lots of other reading and educational resources. These resources are used by all classes in the school and allow children and teachers to be able to access information on Chinese history, geography, classical literature, language or any topic of interest.
In 2014, enrolment of the school had grown to accommodate children from Eagles Wings Foster Homes, local foster homes and children from several floors of the orphanage. We expanded the school to also include the 9th floor of the Government building and opened several more classrooms to accommodate the needs of our more severely disabled children. We successfully applied for another grant which enabled us to open three new baby classes on the 9th floor to allow for younger children to come upstairs from the orphanage during the school day.
Our Principal Zhang Ying
Zhang Ying came to Eagles Wings as a translator in 2008. Since then her impact has been felt throughout all our homes as she willingly and tirelessly works to implement the Eagles Wings vision. Zhang Ying has a university certificate in English and (in her spare time!) is working to finish her degree.
In 2010, Zhang Ying became the house manager for the newly opened Eagles Wings 6 home. Her gift for management and for challenging and inspiring both children and staff made this one of our most successful and efficient homes.
In 2011, Zhang Ying was asked to take on the role as Principal of Xi Wang Le Yuan, which was then our preschool/primary school just for Eagles Wings children. Now married, and mother to a young daughter, Zhang Ying's passion for education and her ability to embrace, expand and implement the vision that COAT has for the school has resulted in significant improvements in quality of education for disabled children in Jiaozuo. Now encompassing two floors of the SWI, 100 children, twelve classrooms and 20 staff members, the advancements in the school are a credit to her hard work and committment. We are very blessed to have Zhang Ying as part of our team.
Little Learners - Green and Pink
Our Little Learners Classes began in 2015 thanks to a generous grant from the Australian Embassy in Beijing. The idea behind these classes is to enable the youngest children from the orphanage to participate in a loving play based program. It gets them moving and enables children to meet development milestones. The groups are small and led by two great teachers - Yuan Ya Juan and Yang Zhi Fang. Children in these classes are aged between 8 months and 2.5 years. It is our continued goal to reduce the age of the children entering these classes and increase the number of children attending. Children go on regular outings in the orphanage grounds and make use of the indoor activity room each day.
Beginner, kindergarten and preschool classes
Our beginners class is taught by Li Hui Jun and caters for children aged 3-4 years. Children in this class learn basic literacy and numeracy concepts as well as lots of oral language and social skills. There is an emphasis on play and making learning hands-on and fun.
Our kindergarten class caters for children from 4-7 years and is taught by Liu Si Min. Our preschool class is taught by Niu Lin and caters for children from 6-13 years. Both classes follow the Chinese kindergarten curriculum but with small group activities and hands on learning.
Children in these classes also enjoy music lessons, art/craft lessons, library lessons, outdoor activities (or indoor activity room physical activities during winter) and access to ICT. Individual needs are catered for within these small groups.
Preparations classes (1, 2 and 3)
Preparation classes have been set up for children who are just entering our school system or who are not yet able to access the regular school curriculum. Three classes cater for children of differing ages and abilities and are taught by Wang Xiu Mei, Lu Hai Ping and Niu Ke Xin. Children study a modified Kindergarten curriculum as they learn what school entails including learning to play, learning to work with others, share and take turns. They also participate in music and movement activites and outdoor activities (indoor activity room during winter). Children in these classes range from 4- 16 years.
Daycare classes (1 and 2)
Daycare classes are for our high needs children with multiple impairments. Children range from the age of 4-17 years and are taught by Wang Ai Hong and Liu Yan Xia. Two classes cater for small groups of children as they are involved in play, oral language activities, stories and music. They go on regular outings in the orphanage grounds when whether is warm enough.
Children in our Special class work on a modified Kindergarten curriculum. Many of these children are intellectually impaired. Their teacher is Gao Xiao Dui and their teacher aide is Zhao Jin Xia. The children, aged 10 -15 years of age, work in small groups to best meet their individual needs. Children also participate in lessons in Art/Craft, library, computers, outdoor activities (indoor activity room activities in winter) and music.
Children in senior class are aged between 9-16 years of age. These children mostly have physical impairments. They are all working on individual programs between 1st and 3rd grade of the Chinese curriculum. Children also participate in lessons in art/craft, music, library, computers, science, outdoor activities (indoor activity room activities during winter), Chinese history and geography and English. Their teacher is Jiang Guang Jiu.
Each child attending school requires sponsorship of $100AU per month. Each child that lives in our Eagles Wings Homes also attends school and they require sponsorship of $500AU per month. Our ayis (carers) and teachers require sponsorship of $600AU per month (which also covers their pension and insurance as required by Chinese Law). If you wish to sponsor a particular child or staff member, please note their name and class group so that we can match you with that particular child. If you wish to make a regular donation towards general staff sponsorship, that can also be arranged.
Our School Staff
Celebrating National Teacher's Day in China. September 2015.
Directors of Education
Our Directors of Education are COAT Management Committee Members, mother and daughter team Carolyn Wood and Michelle Baumgartner. Based in Australia, the Directors of Education oversee curriculum management and development, educational adjustments to meet individual needs of children and staff training. They are regular visitors to Jiaozuo and also liaise with educational volunteers. In 2015, the team comprised of special education teachers, an artist, a paediatric physiotherapist and an occupational therapist. In 2014, they arranged a month long professional learning tour of Australian special schools for our Principal ZhangYing. She has endeavoured to put many of the ideas she learned on this trip into practise at Xi Wang Le Yuan. In 2015, Michelle travelled as part of an advisory group to the ZhengZhou orphanage to view their education practices and provide staff training.