Dubbo TAFE students Caterina Buttarelli and Hannah Bass are ready to put their experiences from a once-in-a-lifetime study tour to China into practice.
The Dubbo students were amongst nine early childhood education and care students from across the Central West who travelled to China for more than two weeks as part of the TAFE NSW Outbound Mobility Program.
They spent the majority of their time working and learning at Wuxi International Child Care, one of China’s most highly regarded child care centres.
Both Caterina and Hannah described the trip as an amazing learning experience.
Caterina said the study trip made her a better person.
“The trip gave me a different education to what I have had in Australia, and it made me grateful for what we have here,” she said.
“It was challenging being in a different culture. The language and communicating with the children was difficult but we learnt quickly simple words like hello and thank you, and from there it got easier.
“What I would bring back from their learning would be teaching children in smaller groups how to share toys and things like that, so cultural differences we could use here.
“The kids got to experience messy play activities, for example playing with shaving cream and that was so much fun the kids really enjoyed it as did the Chinese educators, so it was a genuine exchange of teaching ideas.”
Hannah said the Chinese way of learning was more structured than in Australia.
“They teach more like school, it is very structured whereas we teach by play in Australia,” she said.
“Little things like they only have 20 minutes to play outside whereas our kids get three hours. The kids loved having us there and they absolutely loved finger painting.
“I think I’ll be a better teacher because I’ve got a different perspective on childcare now and its always good to broaden one's horizons.”
TAFE NSW teacher Jenni Preston said the trip opened the world up to the Dubbo students.
“Caterina and Hannah handled it well and I think it opened their eyes to the big world and it broadened their thoughts on teaching,” she said.
This trip to China was one of five TAFE NSW Outbound Mobility Program overseas trips this year.