Childcare student Feng Han trained as a dancer from a young age, learning ballet, contemporary and traditional Chinese dance. But the children in her Australian classes are more interested in learning routines by Hi-5 or The Wiggles.
The 30-year-old worked as a kindergarten teacher for seven years in her native Shanghai and has brought many skills with her to Australia, such as dance, playing piano, origami and craft-making.
“I enjoy working in Australia because it’s less stressful. In China we focus on children learning a lot from a young age. But here we encourage their independence and creativity. I teach dance but I just want them to enjoy the movement and use their imagination. I don’t expect them to be perfect. I get a lot of fun out of my job.”
Han, who has a two-year-old daughter, completed Melbourne Polytechnic’s Certificate III ESL Employment for Childcare last year, a dual delivery course designed for international students who want to work in childcare. She is now completing the Diploma of Children’s Services (Early Childhood Education and Care) while working part-time at a childcare centre in Preston.
As part of the course, Han completed placements at local childcare centres ABC Learning and Wood Street Childcare Centre. She says the teachers at Melbourne Polytechnic were a great support. “They gave us a lot of knowledge and organised a lot of activities for us. I was able to learn a lot of practical skills like first aid. They made the course interesting and enjoyable and encouraged us to be more confident.”
The children taught by Han also benefit from her unique skills in dance and origami. “For multicultural day I brought lots of origami and taught the children how to make lanterns to put in the window. We also made umbrellas and a paper piano!”
Han moved here four years ago with her Chinese-born husband and wants to work as a kindergarten teacher after finishing her course. She is also planning to study part-time for a degree in childcare.
Diploma of Children’s Services (Early Childhood Education and Care)