Thank you lovely teachers from our Teacher Training Program.

On June 2nd we had our first ever Teacher Training Appreciation Party. The event was held at Stepping Stones' office. The turn-out was fantastic, over 50 people in all, 37 of them English teachers from the program. All the schools were represented: HLH1, HLH2, Wanliao, Huahong, Wenhe and Zhenxing.
 
We made presentations, did mingle activities, played games and ate great food. A play area was made for the teachers' children, who were very well-behaved. We watched a teaching video made by Shirley from Wanliao, and read an article published last year in the Times Educational Supplement, written by Lily from HLH1.
 
A big thank you to Happy Buddha for the food, and to Michael for the photos. Also, a big thank you to Frank Yih, for allowing us the use of the office space for the day. We are excited to announce that we have received funding for another year and will be working with three new schools from the fall of 2018, as well as continuing to support our six current schools! 
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Volunteer Appreciation Party was a success!

  • Great sponsor with fancy restaurant
On May 23rd,  we organized our Volunteer Appreciation Party for our volunteers, hosted by our sponsor, D.O.C. Over 80 volunteers showed up and attended the party. With the Spring Semester nearing its end, we are glad to have the opportunity to thank our volunteers for their hard work! We bid goodbye to long-time volunteers and look forward to next year's celebration.
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帮助我们给予孩子们一些夏天的乐趣!

去年暑假,铺路石在闵行区华漕为60名孩子开办了一个有趣的夏令营。活动很成功, 当地的青少年协会希望我们在今年举办两次,为120名孩子提供既有意思又能保证安全的夏令营。

现在我们正在寻找热心人士为这些孩子带来寓教于乐的项目。不管你是经验丰富的舞蹈教师、儿童书籍公司、有热情教孩子手工和美术的志愿者,都请联系我们!我们需要志愿者和专业人士教授孩子英语、电脑技能、手工&美术、阅读、戏剧、生活技能和其它环境类的课程,也包括武术、体育、舞蹈,音乐和其它我们之前没有想到过的有趣事物!

夏令营将在7月2日到8月24日每周一至周五进行,早上8点30开始,下午4点30结束。

若你有任何可以为我们夏令营提供的资源,请发邮件至director@steppingstoneschina.net。如果你想贡献一些时间来教这些孩子,请在这里报名。和教英语的志愿者老师不同,助教志愿者们需要会说中文,也要能够在七八月整月之中做到每周至少来教学一次。从虹桥国际机场地铁站打车至夏令营需要大概20分钟的时间,志愿者的交通费用将会得到报销。

这个夏令营是我们英语教学项目(上海周围的教学以及在乡村教学)的附加项目,亦不在暑期农村教学项目之内。请通过此链接(英语教学项目,乡村志愿者项目)来了解我们所有的暑期志愿服务机会。

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Help us to give children some summer fun!

Last summer, Stepping Stones ran a fun summer camp for 60 children in Huacao, Minhang District. It was so successful that the local Youth League asked us to run two camps this year, providing 120 children with safe, fun day care while their parents have to work.

Now we are looking for warm-hearted people to bring entertaining and educational programs to those children. Whether you are an experienced dance teacher, a children’s book company or a volunteer with a passion for teaching arts and crafts to children, please get in touch! We need volunteers and professionals to teach English, computer skills, arts & crafts, reading, drama, life skills and environmental classes to children, as well as martial arts, sports, dance, music, and other fun things that we haven’t even dreamed of yet!    

The camps will run Monday to Friday between 2nd July and 24th August, starting at 8.30am and finishing at 4.30pm. 

If you have any resources to offer our summer camps, please e-mail director@steppingstoneschina.net.  If you would like to volunteer some time to help teach the children, please sign up here.  Volunteers will need to speak Chinese, apart from the ones who will teach English, and be able to teach at least once a week for the whole month of July or August. It takes around 20 minutes by cab to reach the camps from Hongqiao International Airport metro station, and volunteers will be reimbursed for the transport cost.

This summer camp program is additional to all our English teaching programs in other locations all around Shanghai and in rural areas during the summer.  Please follow the link to learn about all our summer volunteering opportunities.  

中文

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Our 2 teams have walked 501km for E.G.G. Walkathon to raise money for our Classroom Teaching Program!

Initiated by Shanghai United Foundation, “E.G.G.Walkathon” has been held every year since 2011, with 665 participating teams this year!

12 May was the DAY!  This year we had two teams: Team (Stepping Stones &) Mingdao, and Team Triple Stones. The former included staff from Mingdao, which has been one supportive pro bono service provider for us. The latter was made up by our staff and staff from Save the Children and St.James's Place!

501 kilometers were completed in total by our lovely 12 members! Stepping Stones is very grateful for such effort, their continuous commitment for fundraising and all the amazing people who have donated to our Egg Walkathon 2018

The program supported by this fundraising event is our Classroom Teaching Program. Thanks to everyone’s great efforts, we can support even more volunteers to teach English to our students next year. You can see below a snapshot of this program in 2017.

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A Glance at The Classroom Teaching Program

  • Shanghai English Teaching (SET)

The Flashback  of 2018 E.G.G. Walkathon

 

Thank you all! See you next year! 

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Our Rural Individual Volunteering Program is calling for participants this summer!

This summer, Stepping Stones is pleased to offer volunteering opportunities in a few rural areas of China! For individual volunteers who are eager to leave the city, explore rural life, while giving back, consider teaching English to disadvantaged students. Not only can you aim to improve their English but you can foster positive culture exchange. Please find below the relevant information about the different placements with locations and the requirements.

Commitment Requirements:

• Teaching 3-4, 40-minute English lessons per day, 5 days per week

• Be 18 years or older

• Speak English well and confidently

• Individually arrange and pay for visa, insurance, meals, any international transport, etc.


 


Placement 1

Teach English to primary and middle school students in their rural village

Near Xuzhou, Jiangsu

 

Other Requirement:

• Minimum of two weeks teaching between July and August (flexible dates)


Placement 2

Teach English at a primary school in the small town. 

Near Yiyang, Hunan

Other Requirement:

• Minimum of two weeks teaching between July and August  (flexible dates)



 

Placement 3:

 Teach English speaking, listening, and vocabulary building skills 

to Educating Girls of Rural China’s (EGRC*) sponsored university students

Location Choice 1: Zhenfeng, Guizhou 

Location Choice 2: Yuzhong, Gansu

Location Choice 3: Minxian, Gansu

 

Other Requirements:

• From 23 July to 1 August

• Female 


 

For volunteers interested in these opportunities, Stepping Stones (or EGRC) will arrange the placement with the rural school or community contact and will cover all accommodation and domestic transportation costs. All volunteers will be provided with an online Orientation, placement briefing, teacher training and access to teaching resources. There will also be teacher training, orientation, and access to teaching resources.

Additionally, there is opportunity to arrange other activities with the student (ie arts and crafts, sports, music, dance, etc)

Interested volunteers should register through our website (here), indicating in the additional comments section the intended length, dates and location for a placement.

If you would like more information about this opportunity, please contact Morgan Banaszek, volunteer@steppingstoneschina.net.

 

*"For 13 years, EGRC has empowered young women from rural regions of Western China to escape poverty through education." -EGRC Website 

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Our summer placements are calling for volunteers!

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Our Annual Report 2017 is released!

We are delighted to have completed our Annual Report 2017.  We are very grateful to each of you for the important part you played in the success of our all our programs.  Please take a look at what we achieved last year, noting in particular the detailed Impact Report at the end (English version click here; Chinese version click here).

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Rural Trips 2018 soon to depart!

New year, new start, and our rural trips are back on track!

This spring, Stepping Stones is happy to offer two unique volunteering experiences in rural (and blossoming) areas of China. Two weeklong tours are arranged in May for volunteers to serve as English teachers to children of rural families in Henan and Zhejiang Province.

From 6 to 11 May, one group of volunteers will start a five-day trip to Dengfeng, Henan, where they will be teaching English lessons to primary school students. From 27 May to 1 June, Stepping Stones will lead another tour to Pujiang County in Zhejiang Province for volunteers to teach English at two rural primary schools. As well as teaching English, volunteers will also have the chance to participate in students’ arts and sports extracurricular activities. There will also be opportunities to explore the local area.

Through these tours, volunteers will provide support to rural public schools by improving the students’ English education. It is also an opportunity for volunteers to connect with the ‘left-behind’ children, to better understand their school communities and to experience local life. This is a practical way to share knowledge and love with a disadvantaged community.

The Dengfeng tour costs RMB 1,800 and the Pujiang tour costs RMB 1,500 per participant*

Both trips include:

  • Round-trip train tickets from Shanghai to Zhengzhou or Yiwu
  • Local transport via bus to and around Dengfeng or Pujiang
  • Accommodation (in shared rooms)**
  • Meals
  • 24/7 staff support
  • Preparatory training and workshop
  • English teaching lesson plans
  • Insurance
  • Volunteering Certificate

*Please note this trip is subsidized, which has lowered the cost as compared with other rural tours.

**If you would like your own room there will be a small additional cost. 

Trip Itinerary:

Sunday Afternoon – Individuals travel to Zhengzhou (Henan) or Yiwu (Zhejiang)Hired bus/van journey from to Dengfeng/Pujiang countyCheck into the hotelDinner at a restaurant
Monday Morning – Teacher Training and lesson preparations at the hotel or school
Lunch at a restaurant or the school
Afternoon activity – 2 (40 min) English lessonsCrafting or outdoor activities with the students (weather dependent)Dinner at a local restaurant

Evening – Free time and lesson preparations

Tuesday Morning – 2 (40 min) English lessons
Lunch at the school and free time with the students
Afternoon – 2 (40 min) English lessonsDiscussion and question time with the principal and teachersDinner at a restaurant

Evening – Free time and lesson preparations

Wednesday Morning – 4 (40 min) English lessonsLunch at the school
Afternoon – Sightseeing to local attractionsDinner at a restaurant

Evening – Free time and lesson preparation

Thursday Morning – 2 (40 min) English lessons
Lunch at the school and free time with the students
Afternoon – 2 (40 min) English lessonsCrafting or outdoor activities with the students (weather dependent)Local village tour with some students

Dinner at a restaurant

Evening – Free time and lesson preparation

Friday Morning – Check out of the hotel2 (40 min)English lessons
Lunch at the school
Hired bus/van from Dengfeng/Pujiang to Zhengzhou/Yiwu

Of course, the rural areas are famous for nature and we will not miss that. This time, examples of local sightseeing destinations include: Shaolin Temple or Longmen Grottoes in Dengfeng, Xianhua Mountain or the First Family of Southern China ancestral home in Pujiang. In short, it is also an eye-opening chance to connect to Chinese authenticity, from all angles.

This tour is designed for a volunteer group of 10-25 participants. If you would like further information about Stepping Stones’ rural tours, you can contact Morgan Banaszek, volunteer@steppingstoneschina.net


Please stay tuned, for more photos and updates of these two rural trips!

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Stepping Stones Spring Updates

Please accept our warmest spring regards, along with our latest updates. 

1. Spring Updates

The Spring has arrived, our new volunteers have been trained and our programs have all started up again at the beginning of the new term!  Each week, more than 220 volunteers are teaching at 30 schools and community centers each week in and around Shanghai, 50 volunteers are teaching children through Videolink in 6 rural Chinese schools, and another 20 rural English teachers have signed up for teacher training through Videolink.  We have a new team of volunteers from Shanda University in Jiashan assisting our computer teachers to teach 448 students in two schools in Jiashan, and two volunteers already completed 3-week full time teaching assignments in schools in Hunan and Jiangxi. In short, another busy term ahead at Stepping Stones!

 

2. Volunteer Testimonial 

Some of you may wonder how our volunteer experience is like? Check what our volunteer says below: 
"After my bachelor studies on History Education and master studies on English Education, now I am working at an International School in Shanghai. Our students are so fortunate to study at a caring learning environment with fruitful teaching resources. However, how about those migrant students in Shanghai? Can they acquire a quality and equitable public education? When I came across Stepping Stones, I felt a calling to be someone who can make a significant difference for such children, even if we only work together for a short time every week.
By supporting the students in Sunflower Community Center in their English learning, and by delivering lessons and making conversations with them in English, we all can witness how much progress they made day by day. What’s more important, they really enjoyed the lessons and are now more confident to speak English in public. My previous teaching experience has demonstrated to me that language and background knowledge were not the only key factors; however, it was their learning attitude, psychological wellbeing and parental environment that pose greater influence upon their academic performance. Nonetheless, these factors, sometimes, were even neglected by the teachers. 
I hope the after-school supporting lessons organized by Stepping Stones can provide them with warm and secured environment to fully express themselves and fulfill their potential in the future.

- Mandy Deng, 

 Fall 2017 Semester Volunteer 

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2018 Egg Walkathon is calling for teams!

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Egg Walkathon, one of the most well-known annual fundraising campaigns in Shanghai China, is now calling for charity teams to rise to the 2018 Egg Walk Challenge. 

As the long-term partner of Shanghai United Foundation, who initiated this annual campaign in 2011, Stepping Stones this year is inviting public teams (corporates, schools, organizations, etc) to walk to support the disadvantaged children in China. 


 Date & Place

  • 12 May 2018 (TBD).
  • Pudong, Shanghai.

Participant requirements

  • 4-6 team members.
  • Raise at least RMB 30,000 per team (Fundraising agreement needs to be signed in advance).

So, what will you get by joining the biggest annual fundraising campaign in Shanghai?

  1. An unforgettable and challenging team-building activity.
  2. Promotional exposure to an audience of more than 100,000.
  3. An opportunity to become the headline news of the day.
  4. More importantly, an opportunity to support charity and education!

Want to form your own team and join now?

Please contact communications@steppingstoneschina.net or call 021-32090516 before 31 Jan.  First come, first served!  

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Employees from Target and Hasbro helped kindergarten children in Shanghai

  • Employees from Target's Shanghai office helping children

Stepping Stones took two volunteer groups to kindergartens in December to organise creative activities with the migrant children.  Employees from Target’s Shanghai office had fun helping the children at a kindergarten in Minhang to make Christmas trees out of recycled toilet roll tubes, wrapping paper, felt and ribbon.  And employees from Hasbro, the toy company, held their “Day of Joy” at a kindergarten in Songjiang, where adults and children alike had a wonderful time playing with Playdoh. Both events maximised interaction between the visitors and the children, and unleashed everyone’s creativity and imagination.  Thank you to Target Foundation for generous sponsorship of Stepping Stones’ activities since 2012, and to Hasbro for sharing their great toys with the children.

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Stepping Stones improves English teachers' confidence and ability

In 2016, thanks to the support of Shanghai Charity Foundation, Stepping Stones has launched a Teacher Training Program at three migrant primary schools in Shanghai. 39 English teachers from the three schools attended the training in the school-year 2016-2017, which was a total of 18 three-hour sessions, equivalent to 54 classroom hours.

  • Stepping Stones improves English teachers' confidence and ability

Program Impact

To assess the value and impact of this program on the teachers, evaluations were conducted at each school. Teachers were given ‘pre-program’ (or baseline) and ‘post-program’ (or follow-up) survey questionnaires. A variety of questions were asked, assessing the teachers’ perceptions of their teaching skills and of their own and their students’ English confidence and ability.

All Schools TTP 2016-2017_Corinne

As can be seen in the Figure above, three of the most notable findings of the study were that by the end of the year, 102% more teachers were using English in class, 77% more teachers felt confident to speak English in class, and 126% more teachers felt able to get their students to speak English in class. These extremely significant increases highlight one of the many important goals of Stepping Stones' Teacher Training Program, which is to help teachers providing a enriched English learning environment for their students.

ttp articleAnother highlight of the impacttp article2t evaluation is the proportion of teachers reporting an increase in their students' comprehension level. The number of teachers who thought their students' English comprehension level was either ‘high’ or ‘very high’ increased by 128% at the end of the program. 

Stepping Stones is encouraged by these positive results, which suggest that teachers under its Teacher Training Program become more confident to use English in class, and feel subsequently more prepared for engaging their students in their English classes.

Plan for 2017-2018

The school year of 2017-18 will be a big year for our Teacher Training Program, as we have a new teacher trainer on the team, and have added three more migrant schools to the program. We are continuously improving the program, by having more strategic school selection, more refined needs analysis, and more trainee-centered classroom focus. Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far!

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Cirque du Soleil donated hundreds of tickets to migrant children!

World famous theater and acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil recently invited nearly 400 migrant children and adults from one of Stepping Stone’s partner schools to attend a dress rehearsal of their show “KOOZA” in Shanghai. Cirque du Soleil also gave free tickets to their show for our main stakeholders, acknowledging their contribution to the success of Stepping Stones. The students were able to watch a highly anticipated show that is currently touring in China, and has received much praise. The children enjoyed the show and had much to say about it. They wrote letters to Stepping Stones full of joy and gratitude to the Cirque du Soleil.

One student was amazed by the visual presentation of the show, writing: “This show was eye-opening for me, the visual design of the stage was amazing, and we all looking forward to watch your wonderful performance again.”

trans 1a

Another student was enamoured by the dance moments and performance of the show, writing: “The show, Kooza, by Cirques de Soleil was amazing! All of the graceful dance movements and soul-stirring performances have won the heart of every audience, and it was truly an unforgettable evening!”

trans 2b

One student saw a deeper meaning in the show, recognizing the work of the performers, writing: “One of the most important thing that I have learned after the show is that every performer has been working very hard to become who they are today, and I need to work hard as well to become the person I dream to be.”

trans 3b

Another was inspired by the show to pursue their dreams and own success, writing: “The circus show was eye-opening! My father told me that the amount of efforts took by the artists to achieve today’s outcome are hard to measure. They would not achieve today’s successes without practising continuously. I want to thank every participant for putting up this brilliant show, as well as teaching me the key to success.”

trans 4b

Thank you Cirque du Soleil for the generous donation of tickets to migrant children in Shanghai!

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Young volunteers from Shanghai High School International Division visited their videolink students in Anhui!

On May 20th, eight young volunteers and two expatriate teachers from Shanghai High School International Division visited their video link program students from a rural school located in Guangde of Anhui Province, which is about 220 km away from Shanghai.

Since the beginning of the year, SHSID introduced a new program for 8th grade as a compulsory course called “Service Learning” to educate students to use what they have learned to give back to school and society. Stepping Stones’ videolink program trains volunteers to teach English through internet to left-behind children in rural China. With the help of their parents, ten young volunteers were mobilized to serve in Stepping Stones’ pilot video-link program at Guangde Zhenlong Primary School.

Despite the long distance between Guangde and Shanghai, the trip to Zhenlong school turned out to be very fruitful. The volunteers, warmly received by Zhenlong Primary School, also brought over one hundred English books, dictionaries and stuffies donated by SHSID students and set up a small reading corner for the kids. The volunteers were formed in pairs teaching English with different themes to 2nd graders of Zhenlong Primary School and played English games with them.

Although we felt very tired after the long trip, we achieved so much from GIVING. We now understand the importance of service learning program. It is always so rewarding to provide constant, high-quality and in-depth community service by utilizing the skills and knowledge we have acquired, “ said Michelle Ding, leader of this program at SHSID. Michelle and her sister Angelina organized a successful charity concert in 2016 which raised 30,000 RMB to support Stepping Stones’ video link program.

Stepping Stones trains each video link volunteer and provides technical and teaching support for all lessons with an aim to find an efficient and sustainable way of reaching more disadvantaged groups in remote areas. Lessons are scheduled mainly on weekends or evenings, thus allowing more volunteers to get involved outside of work/school hours and with less travel needed.

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