Friday’s Excursion: Fu Shin Street ( 富善街 )

Every week, we try to take children out of Lam Tsuen Village to explore and experience wider & deeper environment and community.  We decide the excursion location based on discussion with children and our observation of children. What’s their interest now?  What will they see?  What experiences can they have?  This blog entry is about last week’s excursion, focusing on Chinese New Year!


  • Story Beginning

Back ground: CNY is coming in two weeks , and our town & village decorations has already started changing.

On Tuesday, during class, a child mentioned that CNY is coming. So, we visited Lam Tsuen central part to see how things were changing.



Indeed, something is different here!   What’s this?  Chinese New Year!!!


Children said that they wanted to decorate our school with CNY decorations. Thus, children and teacher together, we decided our week’s excursion: to go shopping for CNY decorations!


  • Tai Po, Fu Shin Street: 大埔富善街

This street is always full of energy, and there are a lot of interesting things to experience with all 5 of children’s senses: see, hear, touch, smell and taste. HK cultural shops, local hardware shops, natural wood shop, rock shop, recycle wood furniture shop, dried food shop, fish, produce, cloth, etc.  And, at the end of this street is… a TRAIN MUSEUM!    Also, the people are not in a big hurry here; in fact, they walk slower than the other Hong Kong people. They provide a good atmosphere for children.

First, we crossed Kwong Fuk Bridge ( 廣福橋 ) and children counted how many boats they could find: Learning numbers, and quantity concepts in the real life.


Checking and shopping for Chinese New Year decorations. Here, children are learning culture, social skills and language as it is used in the real world.


Children are shopping by themselves. This activity has a very strong context for children.  You can imagine how this experience will enrich children’s self-esteem and confidence instead of waiting for an adult to do this for them. They can feel: “I DID IT!”


At the end of Fu Shin Street is a train museum. Children love trains, so with their interest, children can deepen their understanding and learning.


“O,” that’s your name!!!!cny3

Tracing a letter is a popular ECE activity. Vygotsky said that the 1st writing stage is writing in the air too. But, “letter training” objects like foam/plastic letters, worksheets, and flashcards don’t have any contextual meaning for children. Here, at their favourite train place, they could find the letters in their names in the environmental print. The level of impact for children is totally different.

Same as Chinese writings with context, “大埔” & “沙田,” where we live in.


We found “大埔”!!!


I hope you could see how our excursions are designed to support children’s learning. We don’t just go places  to have “fun.”  We are not looking for an amusement park.  We are looking for children to experience “joy” while learning in meaningful and deeply contextual ways.


Loris Maraguzzi, the founder of Reggio Emilia Approach, said of education:

Nothing without joy.


We deeply agree.

You may well ask, “What’s the difference between “fun” & “joy”???  Aren’t they the same thing?”

It comes from the participating positions of the activity. If you are passively participating, then, you will have fun. For example, Disneyland is all about “fun.” You watch a show or a parade and go on a ride. It’s all passive consumer activities. As a result, you can have “fun.” On the other hand, “joy” comes with active participation. You decide what to do and how to do, and you do it!  Practicing a dance and then dancing in a parade is “joy.” It may not only have “good” time, sometimes, it’s hard too. When you overcome these challenges, you learn a lot and thus, you grow; this growth is the essence of  why we feel “joy.”  “Joy” is observed in children’s play a lot.  Any mother will recall that pregnancy and childbirth was NOT fun, but ultimately a joyful experience.  (Interestingly, in the movie, “Inside Out,” the main character’s name was Joy too.  The Pixar studio in Emeryville, CA has an employee child care center that is also Reggio Emilia inspired.  I wonder if they got inspiration from there… )

So, rather than wonder what would be “fun” for the children, we are always challenging ourselves to consider which activities are likely to bring them the greatest JOY, and focus on those.


Thank you for reading!

Have a nice day!

Mabo (Masahiro Kuwata)

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