Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Not Quite American Pre-Schoolers

Q was singing tidbits from his Mandarin music class, and I pulled out the songbook to read the rest of the lyrics in translation. Many kiddie songs are universal – series of animals, rides on the bus, lullabyes.

To me, this song seems distinctly Chinese. I have a hard time imagining a class of American two-year olds singing this verse:

I am a good baby
Everyday, I go to school
When I see the teacher, I am polite
I also get along with classmates
I study hard, can draw
Sing, play, and exercise
Good baby, good baby
I want to be a good baby.

I think that it’d be more likely to hear something about being “unique” and “special.” Being polite, hard-working, and unique are all important traits, but it’s interesting to see which cultures promote which values.

I help with the laundry too!


bubandpie said...

The history of children's literature in English is all about the movement away from adult values and didacticism, toward child-centred entertainment (i.e. farting). And every time I try to teach that narrative arc, it gets disrupted by the fact that all my students enjoy the classic didactic texts like Little Women more than the supposedly entertaining alternatives. I say, bring on the politeness and the exercise!

Lady M said...

Bubandpie - So, it would have been more accurate to compare the time period, rather than just the nationality. Very interesting. I've always loved the Alcott books and such, and wanted to "work on my faults" like Jo and Beth did.

kittenpie said...

Oooh, interesting. I always wish when they have those multicultural books of nursery rhymes and lullabies that we could get the tune, too. They make me very curious.