Each year the daycare that we use, Minnesota Chinese Day Care and Learning Center, hosts a recital and graduation ceremony. This year both Madeleine and Gabriel participated in the recital. Gabe is still a preschooler and he and his classmates participated as part of the full-time student class. Maddy also participated in the recital as a returning summer school student. She spent the end of the summer at the other learning center and was a part of the older school age students.
The staff at the Minnesota Chinese Day Care and Learning Center are special. They will always be an important of our children's education. We have had both of our children in their care since Maddy came home from China in 2006. The same was true for Gabe when he started going to pre-school in after his arrival in 2009. They have provided love and care for the children and a real solid foundation both socially and from an education standpoint. The fact that both children had a chance to learn Chinese (Mandarin) and so much pre-kindergarten school skills was a a bonus. Keeping the kids in touch with their Chinese heritage was very important to us. All of the teachers and administrators have been outstanding. Our children love their teachers and learn much every day. We will never be able to sufficiently thank the staff for everything they have provided.
As the years have passed, we have also developed a strong sense of community with the other families who have children at the learning center. Our children have made close friends with the children here and in turn we have become acquainted with their parents. This has enriched our family in ways that I would have never expected. So a night like this is special not only for our kids, but also for the many families that make up our circle of friends.
This year was very special. Two Children that are good friends of both Gabe and Maddy graduated. Technically, this would be the class that is in between Maddy and Gabriel. So congratulation to both Charlie and Faith for the accomplishments. We are very proud of you and are happy that you were a part of our children's life. The other great things was that Faith's mom gave the Parent's Perspective Speech this year and it was wonderful and very heartfelt. It underscored exactly how we feel about the staff and what they mean to our children. Charlie gave the long introductory speech - in Chinese. He did very well and I know that his mother was very proud of him for being selected. We are all very proud of him, he did so well.
After the speeches and introductory remarks came the graduation ceremony. The kids don their mortar boards and get their certificates. This is always fun to watch as the kids are always very proud of their achievements. The ceremony is immediately followed by about an hour long program that includes a mix of chinese dances and recitation of Chinese verse. Sometimes it is simple children's rhymes and sometimes it is a little more advanced. In all cases the performances are impressive and cute at the same time.
Gabe participated in two dances and two recitations. He was very excited all week to get into costume and do his performance. He did great. He is in a pretty big class and many of his early boyhood friends are in his class. In addition to Charlie and Faith, who are going on to Kindergarten, Nico, Eddie and others will be in his class again next year. That is another really great thing about this day care - families tend to stay with the program throughout the duration. These kids did a great job on their performances. The only bad thing is that Gabe was in the back and opposite from where we were sitting. We got some pictures of him, but not a lot. However, I eventually moved with the video camera when he was on - so there are some better shots of him in the videos.
Maddy, changed daycare in mid-summer so she could be with the older kids. That was a great decision. It also allowed her to spend much of the summer with two of the girls she was adopted with from the same orphanage in Chongqing. It was great that they could be together on a daily basis. I am also very happy with her work in Chinese and math. She really made strides in these areas this summer. Maddy, Mikayla, Isabel, Olivia and company did really well in their two dances and two recitations. We were all amazed at the skill they demonstrated in both dance and language. I know all of the parents were very proud of the job they did..
Our connections still kept going, as Nora, Isabel's sister danced with the little kids. This dance is always a personal highlight. It is just so much fun to watch the little kids dance. It is always a mix of a couple who get into it and know the moves and those that sort of stand and watch. Nora did great, definitely a performer and not a watcher.
At the end of the evening the Group 88 families (Adoption Group) headed over to the Tea House on University Avenue on the U of M Campus for a celebratory dinner. The food was great and the restaurant was beautiful. We had a very pleasant, if somewhat noisy, dinner. It was a great night. It is really hard to believe that Gabe is entering his last year at the school. It is kind of sad to think that this part of our children's development is nearing an end. Thank you Minnesota Chinese Day Care and Learning Center!