Spark Guide: Sing-Ying Chung
To make sure that we do our job in helping you build your child’s cultural identity as authentically as possible, we work with our international Spark Guides. They are a team of inspiring cultural ambassadors and experts who are passionate about celebrating their culture with the world!
Let us introduce you to Sing-ying, our Early Childhood Education and Child Development Spark Guide.
Co-Founder/Secretary-General of Family Plus Education Association
I am Sing-yiing (Chinese pronunciation is “singing!”). I was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and pursued my foreign studying and working experience at Boston and NYC, USA for 5 years. My major is Early Childhood Education and Child Development, and all my working experience is also with young children and family as an educator.
The abroad experience drives me to focus on cultural and cultural identity. As a foreign student, I must fight against homesick, cultural shock, loneliness, and keep seeking “who I am” by myself. The struggle finally ended when I started to work with 2 groups in the US: one is Chinese-American first generation immigrant families, and another is the families who adopted children from China. These two groups seem different, but both confront some unique challenges because of their multi-cultural background. Most Chinese-American immigrant parents have low parental self-efficacy, because they don’t know how to be good parents in this multi-cultural society. Children adopted from China might easily have identity crisis when they are teenagers, because they have trouble explaining why they look different from their parents and siblings. However, the research and implementing groups which I joined found that “cultural” is the best treatment or intervention for both groups.
The immigrant parents can be empowered when they understand their own cultural events and mother languages are still important to their children; the children could reduce the suffering and feel embraced if the adoptive families can provide some Chinese cultural events or have the play groups with other adoptive families. It’s all about cultural identity and how important to the families and individuals. The working experience encouraged me to be proud of my own culture and myself, and I realized that not only American but also Taiwanese families need these cultural supports as well. Because of history, Taiwan is a multi-cultural and ethnic society, but the people do not recognize or value it. Taiwanese culture is blended by Chinese, aborigines, Southeast Asia, Japanese, America, and even more.
After coming back to Taiwan, my friends and I started up an NPOs devoted to promoting culture and family education. We have a podcast to support parents, especially parents of newborn babies. We also run a parent-child center funded by the government to cherish our cultural and community through interactive activities.
We joined local musical music festival and played moon lute (traditional Chinese string instrument), provide parent-child activities, even children’s exhibition to encourage families embracing this traditional instrument. We were so touched by a girl who hugged moon lute and can tell how she loves it from her eyes.
The most important function of culture is “connection.” Some immigrant children can’t communicate with their grandparents and disconnect with their mother culture, because their parents didn’t provide the opportunity to make the connection with their daily life and original culture. Thus, create some “ceremonies,” such as celebrating cultural festivals, joining the playgroup, talking with grandparents, or traveling to home country. Moreover, parents could discuss with children about the feeling of belonging, home, and identity, especially with multi-cultural background children, and respect children’s opinions.
Find out more about Sing-Ying and her work at:
Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyOMG/
Parent-child center: 桃園市八德親子館(Bade Parent-child center)