The name of the building above is Mapo English Literacy Center.
My Korean friend brought me there to 1) borrow toys for two weeks for free and 2) borrow English books for two weeks for free.
It is a newly-renovated building which houses Mapo’s new English program. The program will be formally opened on January 29, 2009, thus the promo for free rental of toys. I guess, it is not hard for Koreans to set out this kind of programs even with expensive toys for they have an ID system which could easily monitor delinquent borrowers. On the side, some strollers are rented out for free in big department stores upon presenting of the national ID or the Alien Registration Card for foreigners. One time, my friend and I just left the stroller in the parking basement of Hyundai Department Store in Sinchon and my friend promptly received a phone call asking why she did not return the stroller in the lobby:-)
The toy rental is at the second floor of the building. I got two for my Little Dynamo wich I am to return on February 5, 2009. It will be 200 won per day per toy if I fail to give it back on time. The center has big toys like cars and bikes for toddlers, too. Pretty good and practical and convenient.
On the third floor, we got into a very cozy library which houses children’s books. An information with an English speaking staff was readily available to answer some of queries:
Mommies and babies could cuddle around while reading.
To make the library more interesting, children could go up a small circular mezzanine and read on their own.
I was curious about the existence of two other rooms labeled as “classrooms”. It turned out, they have programs for children from six years old up to elementary grade. They have an existing program for moms, too. They have one American teacher who is to start teaching on February 3, 2009.
When Koreans set their minds unto something, they really go full blast for it. English is a current national obsession and almost all academic programs are geared to the realization of that obsession.