In May’s Chinese Preschool and Daycare on Packard, brightly colored murals cover the walls of each room— a scene from a favorite book, panda bears, shapes and letters. May DeLosh, the school’s owner and director, proudly points out and explains the significance of each mural. After three years of planning, the preschool opened in August 2017 and is a dream come true for DeLosh.
DeLosh laughs when she thinks back to when she first arrived in the United States from China 20 years ago: “My English was so bad. On the airplane, I could only understand the word ‘juice.’” DeLosh had studied English in China, but only from a textbook, so she could read very well but had little exposure to native English speakers.
The road to her passion
Teaching is DeLosh’s passion. A history teacher in China, she began working at Ann-Hua Chinese School in Ann Arbor soon after she arrived. After pursuing an accounting degree and working part-time in that field, DeLosh, knowing she was meant to be an educator, obtained a child development associate (CDA) certificate from Eastern Michigan University and opened a home daycare in Ann Arbor. In 2013, May earned a master’s degree in early childhood education with a focus in second-language research from EMU.
A dream comes true
DeLosh, now ready to fulfill her dream of owning a preschool and daycare center, purchased the Packard Rd. property in 2014. It took three years to meet all of the state regulations and to convert the house to a safe, supportive space for children. “After three years, I felt so lucky to open this daycare center. I didn’t give up because this is my passion,” she explains.
Benefits of the Chinese language
DeLosh’s preschool is bilingual because she knows that learning Chinese is good for children’s brains: it’s a tonal language, which makes both sides of the brain work together. “It’s like weightlifting for the brain,” DeLosh says. At the preschool, the staff speaks as much Chinese as possible. Songs, circle time, and other activities are presented in both English and Chinese. Children are prepared academically for kindergarten when they leave May’s, but they also have a strong exposure to Chinese, which can benefit them for years to come.
This approach to bilingual education has worked for DeLosh’s own two sons. Only 7 when he moved to the U.S., her older son couldn’t understand anything but “hello” and “goodbye,” but he quickly picked up English while DeLosh spoke Chinese to him at home. Her younger son, born in America, is fluent in Chinese. According to May, both boys have benefited greatly from learning both English and Chinese.
May DeLosh has high hopes for her students. “I want them to be happy, and a second language helps you to be happy. You can explore more of the world with the Chinese language,” she states. May fulfills that hope at her preschool, a bright, cheerful space where the youngest can learn the Chinese language.
Q&A with May Delosh
Favorite park in Ann Arbor: I prefer Buhr Park because there are so many different activities for kids like tennis, a sandbox and a playground. The kids can always find something fun to do there.
Favorite children’s book: I like Dr. Seuss. His words and pictures are great for children.
Best place to get Chinese food in Ann Arbor: Evergreen Restaurant on Plymouth Rd. serves real Chinese food with lots of vegetables.
Best place to grab coffee or tea: Sweetwaters has very good tea!
Learn more about May’s Chinese Preschool and Daycare at mayschineseschool.com