Jo's story about discovering dragonfruit
Big Fat Smile and Reynolds Street Community Preschool have been part of ELLA since it was first trialled in 2015. In their learning journey, they have loved learning about culture as well as a new language.
While learning Chinese (Mandarin) with ELLA, we saw that one of the apps included dragonfruit – a type of fruit from China. We couldn’t find dragonfruit at the shop, but we talked to our local fruit seller and they sourced it for us especially.
We were very excited when the dragonfruit arrived, and we decided to investigate it. We asked: 'What does it look like?' 'Does it have a certain smell?' 'I wonder what it would taste like.' 'Can we grow it here at our centre?'
In our discussion, children said:
- It comes from dragons.
- It comes from China.
- It looks like dragon food.
- It’s red, green and yellow.
- It’s pointy.
- It’s bendy.
- It doesn’t hurt our finger.
- It’s soft and squishy.
We shared our day with families by uploading our investigations to Kinderloop, our communication site. One surprising comment was from a child’s grandmother, who lives in North Queensland. She grows dragonfruit and said she would give us a plant! This was a great connection with our families who are coming along the journey of language and cultural learning with us.
Cultural experiences such as these provide great added benefits for the children, educators, centre and organisation, families and community. Just some of the benefits are:
- children, educators and families enjoy learning about culture together, especially as we all become more adventurous in our learning
- community engagement
- real links to our program, with language learning embedded in our curriculum
- connection to our centre philosophy
- real cultural inclusion that is continually extended upon by the children’s thirst to learn more
- spontaneous use of language by the children and educators in most of the rooms’ experiences.