ENCINITAS — The Grauer School recently hosted eight students and two faculty members from the Chinese Ameson Foundation, culminating in a collaborative Asian New Year Celebration.
Grauer hosted the Ameson Foundation group during the first week of February and paired Ameson students with Grauer student buddies and host families.
The Ameson Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to cultural exchanges between China and The United States, invited headmasters from the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) to visit China. Dr. Stuart Grauer, Founder of The Grauer School, was one of the headmasters chosen for the opportunity. Dr. Grauer’s visit to China was a mutual success, and as a result, Dr. Grauer and the Deputy Director of the Ameson Foundation scheduled a group of Ameson students and teachers to visit The Grauer School.
The Ameson group began with a trip to Legoland before their week of immersion at The Grauer School. They participated in many Grauer electives including physical education, cooking, music, and art as well as core academic courses.
Jillian Bourdon, coordinator of The Grauer School’s International Study Program, worked with the two Ameson teachers to produce the Asian New Year Celebration, held Feb. 7. The celebration included lunch, Asian-inspired performances including a traditional Lion Dance performed by White Dragon Martial Arts of La Mesa, and a presentation of certificates to the visiting Ameson students. The Ameson students made traditional dumplings and performed a traditional folk song that means, “We are all together.”
“This experience provided a great opportunity for organic interactions between Chinese and American teenagers, establishing relationships that will hopefully have a positive lasting impact on future Chinese and American adults,” said Bourdon.
At the end of the weeklong visit, Dan Song, one of the visiting teachers from the Ameson Foundation, highlighted the main differences between education in China and education at The Grauer School. “Students from China are accustomed to going to school from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with study groups held in the evenings until 9 p.m. Class sizes also range from 20 to 50 students per class depending on the subject and type of school.”
The Grauer School limits class size to an average of 12 students per course and instruction lasts from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. with after-school clubs and activities taking place until 5 p.m.
Song was “amazed that this model works for students applying to colleges; students are provided with so many options and are engaged in making their own choices,” but liked that “there is a balance and a lack of pressure to solely score high on standardized tests.”