Odense, January 4, 2021
Dear members of the committee,
I have accepted to be a member of the committee:
HCA International Kids Teacher's Award.
It is a dream for me coming true as I have mentioned this idea to the Mayor of Pindu（平度市）, a year before the opening of the city’s Andersen Park (the spring of 2021). I was there in Pindu in 2020 and also a keynote speaker at the opening of the Andersen Park in Shenyang(沈阳) and “The Red Crowned Crane Festival”.
In the last years I have been telling Chinese students at the AIKC(安徒生国际幼儿师范学院) about Hans Christian Andersen and his fairy tales showing them his (and my own) birth town Odense.
Many times I was surprised by the heartfelt interest in Andersen and his life from the many Chinese kindergarten teachers, movie makers etc.
I myself has a 3 years education as a kindergarten teacher, and has been working as a leader in different kinder gardens for 10 years, so I know a little about the most important resource every country in the world should cherish, the small children, but also children in general.
Hans Christian Andersen wrote many of his fairy tales for children and said they were meant to be read into the ears of the children by adults; parents and teachers. The reason why he didn’t mentioned kindergarten teachers is obvious, there were no kindergarten when he was around.
In Denmark all children are spending a big part of their lives in kinder gardens, therefore it is important that kindergarten teachers are reading fairy tales, not only Andersen’s but fairy tales from all over the world. In this way the next generation, and the next, can benefit from our precious cultural world heritage.
In fairy tales there are lots of wisdom and moral issues, which can guide every single person through their lives. Andersen’s fairy tales is understood in one way by children and in a more complex way by adults, even grandparents can late in their lives read and understand his fairy tales in a new way.
All over the world different countries prefer different Andersen fairy tales. I noticed while being in China in 2020 that Chinese children knew The Little Match Girl, The Little Mermaid, Princess on The Pea, The Emperors New Clothes and The Ugly Duckling and many more. Andersen wrote 156 fairy tales, many of them are still unknown to the Danish public.
I always talk about The Ugly Duckling, who was born and raised in a duck yard, but it didn’t matter, because he has been lying in the egg of a swan. Some people in Denmark think because Andersen mention “the swans, the royal birds” that Andersen had a secret, maybe he himself was royal too.
Reading the fairy tale The Ugly Duckling once in a while can help one from being pessimistic and becoming optimistic, as the fairy tales say, life is tough, and sometimes you maybe even wish to die, but when you look yourself in the mirror of life, you might be a swan. In this way The Swan is the strongest symbol of human strength and courage.
The swan is also the Danish National bird, as Andersen writes in the end of The Ugly Duckling: “it is the most beautiful bird of all the beautiful birds”. In this way he cherish nature on this planet, which we humans are part of and live by.
A kinder garden teacher who tells Andersen fairy tales for a group of children can create a magic moment, when everyday life disappear and the children enter the world of fairy tales, not only will you bring back wisdom to your /their everyday life but also moral issues which can open up their hearts and help them create a better and more peaceful world.
The kindergarten teachers should help the children be creative and try not to take away the 100 language they are born with. Language itself is only one, but can be a lifelong lesson like an everlasting flowering tree, then you have music composing and playing, songs to write and sing, painting with beautiful colors and photos of everything and iPhones information about this worlds and the universe, film and movies, all kinds of sport and dancing etc.
I hope this will inspire you to find the right words for the purpose of the HCA International Kids Teacher's Award and I wish China and the Chinese People good luck with this award.
Your Danish friend, Benny Nybo