In September, 1997 Tzu Chi Academy of Humanistic Studies in Toronto and Richmond were opened. As more students wanted to enroll in the Tzu Chi schools and there was the need to have school in diﬀerent communities, more Tzu Chi schools were set up in Coquitlam, Vancouver, Surrey and Mississauga. The 7th school in Burnaby, BC was founded in September, 2005. The mission of the School of Academy is to cultivate the young students’ abilities in intelligence, wisdom and virtue.
Following the teaching of the Venerable Master Cheng Yen, the objectives of the Academy are:
※ Emphasis on “courtesy and virtue”, focus not on quantity but on quality.
※ To teach students self discipline, respect and love for themselves and others
※ To teach the students to make right choices and care for themselves.
※ To teach the students to lead a calm and peaceful life.
We diligently provide training in Chinese language capability and culture for overseas Chinese students.
In order to provide a happy environment for the students to learn and grow, we organize diﬀerent games and activities such as: Jing Si Aphorisms Posters, recitation, essay writing, storytelling, dictionary checking, calligraphy, and drawings. In between classes, we set up reading stations, calligraphy, art and craft stands.
There are many activities during Chinese New Year Celebration. We have lion dance, red packets from Master Cheng Yen, greeting cards, paper cutting, knots, calligraphy, riddles and special decorations so that our students have a real sense of the new year celebration.
Organize regular Parents and Teachers meetings. Participation among teachers, students and parents will enable the parents to witness the students’ progress in learning Chinese and Jing Si Aphorisms teaching. Parents may practice the teaching of “speak kind words, do good deeds and make noble vows” with their children.
Organize bi-annual camps and invite all ﬁrst time participants of the “Tzu Chi Jing Si Aphorisms Teaching” to attend. Based on the framework of Tzu Chi Humanistic teachings, through discussions, storytelling, group activities and role plays to enhance the parents/children relationship.
The teaching of Jing Si Aphorisms from the Venerable Master Cheng Yen
Based on the teachings from Jing Si Aphorism, we create simple yet lively teaching materials according to diﬀerent grade levels in order to teach our students to speak kind words, do good deeds and make noble vows. There are thirty minutes of Jing Si Aphorism teachings weekly in each class with a new topic every two weeks. Our teachers design the teaching materials and posters; they may use stories, dramas, videos, sign language, songs and games to illustrate the meanings of Jing Si Aphorisms, to bring the teaching into the students’ daily activities. This method teaches not only the Chinese language, it also inspires good conscience and trains our students to be caring, grateful and responsible individuals.
There are over 100 Tzu Chi volunteers forming the teams of “caring dads”, “caring moms”, “caring sisters” and “caring brothers”. These teams of volunteers assist the teachers when needs arise, take care of the students and become their buddies. They follow the Tzu Chi spirit by cooperating with the teachers and guiding the students in their development of a good conscience and virtuous behavior.
Group Recognition Development
We ask all students, teachers and volunteers to wear appropriate Tzu Chi uniforms and name tags at school. The purposes are to develop a sense of pride for belonging to the group, to be recognized as a group member and to prevent unwelcome intruders from walking into the school thus ensuring the safety of the students
Provide an Encouraging Environment for Learning
Teachers and volunteers set positive examples to demonstrate the Tzu Chi humanitarian spirit in order to create an environment full of “caring and appreciation”. This is accomplished by employing the bodhisattva’s wisdom and parents’ love so that the students will grow up in a loving environment and be strong individuals of the students.
Chinese Teaching Material
Other than the practice material prepared by the teachers, students will have textbooks suitable for their age group. For students in Junior Kindergarten, they are taught simple or single tone pronunciation. For students in Senior indergarten, their learning will be emphasized on advance pinyin ability; thus, they can read extra-curriculum materials, as well as focus on listening and communication skills.
Jing Si Aphorisms Teaching Material
Using the teachings from Jing Si Aphorisms and material provided by the Tzu Chi Teachers Association, we have developed a set of “Jing Si Teaching Guide” which includes good words, stories, short essays, pictures and study methods as our teaching material. We designed a contact book to provide three-way communication among parents, students and teachers.
Our teachers are post secondary graduates who have to pass our training program, which includes “Tzu Chi Teachers Study Class” and “Education Humanities Camp” regularly. We encourage all teachers to participate in Canada’s Tzu Chi Teachers Association and Taiwan’s Summer Study Seminars for Teachers to ensure the quality of their teaching and understanding of the “Jing Si Teaching Guide”. We believe that the success of the education system depends on the teachers. A dedicated and well-trained teacher is the key to cultivate responsible youths for our society.
Our school has twelve different grades as follows: Junior and Senior Kindergarten classes, Elementary Grade 1 to 6, and Advance studies Grade 1 to 4. We also have bilingual classes for students whose mother tongue is not Chinese. We advocate small classes in each grade. Schools in western Canada use the semester system, there are two semesters in each school year and 15 teaching weeks per semester. Schools in eastern Canada use school year system and there are 30 teaching weeks per year.