14 May 2022 is a very rewarding day for all educators and parents who are concerned about the development of Chinese children and are committed to the localization of IB education. On this day, the “Cloud Visit” activity of CISA PYP Kindergarten, sponsored by the China Association of International Baccalaureate Schools and co-organized by Golden Apple Preschool Education Group, officially kicked off.
Over the years, Golden Apple has been working hard in refining preschool education, continuously improving the quality of learning and teaching, and is committed to cultivating balanced lifelong learners. Since its release, this activity has attracted much attention from the association and the industry. Many educational colleagues have shown great enthusiasm for participation in this event for the first time and have had enthusiastic exchanges and communication with us regarding the content. Even though we couldn’t gather offline during the outbreak, through online “Cloud School Visits”, Golden Apple still lived up to the expectations of the industry. The wonderful and vivid presentation of the development of our IB kindergarten has shared valuable and cutting-edge views on preschool education.
Under the topic Cultivating a Localized IB Programme, Empowering the Learning Community, the theme of the public welfare “Cloud School Visit” activity has successively set up keynote speeches by education experts, on-site interactive Q&A, online school visits, teacher lightning speeches, roundtable forums, and other activities. Curriculum implementation, school management, cultural construction, and localization have carried out in-depth study and practice in communication.
Address from Guest
Stella Jiang, IB Development Manager for China and Mongolia, as well as IB China Representative, started the event with a speech. She highly recognized Golden Apple's rich experience and achievements in the field of preschool education, and believed that with the gradual deepening of the localization of IB education, there will be more and more education practitioners who will combine the essence and advantages of domestic education with the concept of international education. This academic wisdom can be used as reference for global educators around the world. On this basis, The Chinese Association of International Baccalaureate Schools (CISA) will continue to build a robust platform for IB schools to cooperate, develop, and promote better communication and expected progress among its members.
Mr. Cui Jianshe, the first president of the China Association of IB International Baccalaureate Schools (CISA) and President of Zhonghuang International Education Group, was also invited to deliver a speech. In his remarks, he stated that exploring the localization development path of IB education requires us to firmly grasp and base itself on China's national conditions while extracting the essence of future-oriented world-class education. Make full use of the new achievements of international curriculum reform, constantly enrich the connotation of IB education in China, deepen the understanding and respect of multiculturalism, and work together for the development of high-quality education and the reform of educational methods.
In our childhood memories, the teacher who came and went like the wind on the three-footed podium and walked in the dust of chalk was like an omniscient “prophet” – all the riddles in the world would be solved by him. With the changes of the educational era, teachers who take “spreading knowledge and solving puzzles” as their duty in the long river of time have also ushered in their own “identity transformation.”
在本次访校活动的专家讲座环节，北京柠檬幼儿园创园园长、IB官方顾问、著名IB PYP幼儿教育专家陈孟蕾（Tracie Chen）女士结合自身近三十年教育经验，就“幼儿园教师的多重身份”这一话题向我们分享了她眼中的幼儿教师应该在孩子成长之路上扮演的角色。从挖掘孩子潜能的“探宝者”、幼儿创造力的保护者、学习空间的打造者，到运筹帷幄的“军事家”、脑洞大开的“问题制造机”，在陈园长看来，新时代的幼儿教师一定是一个能够用辩证的思维去思考、去看待世界的多元教育者，而驱使他们在教育天地中不断追求自我实现的，是那份对于孩子与教育事业的爱与责任感。
During the expert lecture of this school visit, Ms. Tracie Chen, the founding director of Beijing Lemon Kindergarten, IB official consultant, and IB PYP early childhood education expert, combined her nearly 30 years of education experience to discuss the topic of “Multiple identities of kindergarten teachers,” sharing with us what roles preschool teachers should play in the development of children. From “treasure hunters” who excavate children’s potential (protectors of children's creativity, the builders of the learning space) to the “strategists” who devise strategies and the “problem makers” with a rich imagination. In director Chen’s opinion, preschool teachers in the new era must be pluralistic educators who can think and look at the world with dialectical thinking. Their love and sense of responsibility for children and education drive them to pursue self-actualization in education.
We were all children once, but we don't necessarily understand what being a child is. From the perspective of children, Professor Yan Chaoyun, professor and doctoral supervisor of Sichuan Normal University and member of the Steering Committee of Preschool Education Experts of the Ministry of Education, elaborated on the importance and necessity of understanding children's inner feelings from the perspective of children. In Yan's opinion, children have their own naive theories. As adults, we should recognize the difference between spatial and experiential perspectives and learn to respect and awaken children. The more a child educator can see problems from their perspective, the stronger the pertinence and direction of his education and teaching will be, and children’s growth will be more comprehensive and healthier.
In the Q&A session, teachers asked, “How should we carry out work from children’s perspective at a practical level?” Professor Yan believes that the ideological level should be changed before the actual operation. Working from the perspective of children means that educators should not only fully pay attention to every child but also pay attention to every field of that child’s development. Only in this way can they truly understand children through empathy. In addition, Yan offered constructive advice to many parents who want to learn to understand children in their daily lives. He takes the link between childhood and adulthood as an example, pointing out that parents should try to compare the growing dilemma faced by their children with the situation in the adult world to feel the psychological effects they have on children. In the face of this “crisis” of growing up, parents should learn to leave enough time and space for their children to deal with and solve problems; turn this “crisis” into an opportunity for growth; communicate and interact with children in a variety of ways; and truly walk into the child's inner world.
“Cloud Exploration” and Lightning Speech
As the host of this public welfare “Cloud Visiting School” activity, the three PYP kindergartens under Golden Apple vividly demonstrated the different development patterns of quality education to the “cloud audience” through their years of pre-school education accumulation and IB localization development practice. At the same time, the PYP education practitioners of the Three Home Schools also shared their valuable lessons and experiences in implementing IB PYP programs in their local environment.
Chengdu Jincheng Lake kindergarten
As the first daycare kindergarten under Golden Apple Education Investment Group, Golden Apple Jincheng Lake Kindergarten, founded in 1998, has always been based on the children’s perspective, harmonious development of each child with high-quality courses and efficient management. Jincheng Lake Kindergarten formally became a PYP candidate school in 2020. Combining the IB PYP program concepts and its own education teaching advantages, as well as integrating traditional Chinese culture and life education, we actively create a safe, heuristic, attractive learning space for children, striving to generate a loving community environment for learners, to support children’s play, exploration, discovery and creation.
Golden Apple Tianfu International Preschool and Kindergarten
Golden Apple Tianfu International Community Kindergarten was founded in 2011. On the road of exploring quality education, Tianfu Garden is committed to creating an educational environment that can promote the balanced development of body and mind of members of the learner community, provide a rich and challenging space for children to explore, and establish a learner community of equality, trust, and multicultural coexistence. Tianfu International Community Kindergarten (which officially became a PYP school in 2015), in its quest for high-quality education, uses inquiry as a primary teaching method, supporting children to explore and understand the world around them in a natural environment. Students’ views and opinions are respected, and they have the opportunity to choose and lead their learning, develop initiative, and grow into active inquirers.
Golden Apple International Preschool
In the twenty-two years since its establishment, Golden Apple International Preschool and Kindergarten has been practicing IB education from learning to innovation; from integration to breakthrough; constantly exploring the way of localized development of education based on China's national conditions. We are focused on the future of children and bearing the vision of quality education, stepping into a new stage of development. As the first PYP bilingual school officially authorized by IBO International Literature Organization in western China, Golden Apple International Preschool and Kindergarten has always been committed to exploring and developing high-quality education. We have gradually established clearer ideas and produced deeper thinking about developing identity and cultivating culturally confident learners.
Best of Both Worlds
——Integration and cooperation in PYP Kindergartens
作为中国 PYP 幼儿园的教育工作者，我们经常讨论实施国际项目中存在的冲突。我们对满足当地期望、要求和指导方针以及促进当地和海外员工之间的合作所面临的挑战感到担忧，这一切可能成为学校压力与困惑的根源，事实上不必如此，这些冲突也能变成很好的机会。小学项目为我们提供了发展教育项目的机会，为孩子们提供在现代世界中成为成功的、负责任的中国公民所需的支持。PYP 让我们有机会从全球和当地的教育理念中进行选择，如果选择“两全其美”，就能为我们的孩子选择最好的教育。不同文化背景的员工之间存在的冲突也是一个很好的探究机会，可以更深入地了解彼此，培养国际情怀。在这个简短的演讲中，我希望强调在 PYP 框架内整合当地课程和实践时需要考虑的重要因素，以及研究 PYP 幼儿园的外籍教师和中方教师的协作。
As educators of PYP kindergartens in China, we often discuss the conflicts in implementing international projects. We are concerned about the challenges of meeting local expectations, requirements and guidelines, as well as promoting cooperation between local and overseas staff, all of which can be a source of stress and confusion in schools. In fact, it doesn't have to be that way and these conflicts can turn into great opportunities. Primary Years Program provides us with the opportunity to develop educational programs and provide children with the support they need to become successful and responsible Chinese citizens in the modern world. PYP allows us to choose from global and local educational philosophies. By choosing “the best of both worlds,” we can get the best education for our children. Conflicts among staff with different cultural backgrounds are also an excellent opportunity to inquire, understand each other better, and cultivate international-mindedness. In this brief speech, I would like to highlight the important factors that need to be taken into account when integrating local curriculum and practices within the PYP framework, as well as studying the cooperation between foreign teachers and Chinese teachers in PYP kindergarten.
Life activities of PYP learners
Speaker: Xiaoyan (Luna) Yan
In the stage of early childhood, daily life is all related to education. Children's life activities, namely entering kindergarten, washing, drinking water, having meals, taking a nap, leaving kindergarten, etc., take up a large proportion of time in half-day activities in kindergartens, which are characterized by cycles and contain rich educational value and opportunities for learning. Luna took the Pre-school class washing activity as an example. Through various ways and strategies, such as jointly creating a living space, she continuously mobilized the motivation and enthusiasm of children to wash their hands, cultivated the attributes of the IB learner profile, and supported the exploration and development of children's agency. It is significant for teachers to have the concept of inquiry, integrate the thought of inquiry into children's lives, and make inquiries everywhere. Education is supposed to return to life. More importantly, it should be integrated and innovated to be a continuous impetus to energize schools, teachers, children, and the entire community of learners.
Supporting Students Agency through
Assessment as Learning
Speaker: Shuting Dai
“Assessment is learning”, that is, assessment as an integral part of learning, is one of the three assessment practices proposed in the IB document “Learning and Teaching”. It focuses on developing students' meta-cognitive ability and facilitating students to acquire thinking habits and skills. When students can evaluate themselves and each other, assessment becomes an integral part of learning. Students can participate in the co-construction of goals and success criteria in the process. They reflect on and adjust their learning and make plans for the next step. They actively express their ideas, adjust, focus on learning and taking action, and finally report on their learning with evidence. They become active learning subjects and have more voice, choice, and control over their own learning. Therefore, when assessment is part of learning, students have the opportunity to develop into active learners.
That is the Stimulus Source
Speaker: Li Xu
There are documents in the IB curriculum that highlight the important value of stimuli in child-centered learning in PYP early childhood education, such as inspiring curiosity, doubt, and purposeful play using stimuli and learning tips. Therefore, as IB practitioners, it is crucial to design diverse and sustainable stimuli in concept-driven inquiry programs to promote children's conceptual understanding and responsible action. In addition, reflection and adjustment of stimuli based on children observation and recordings are helpful to promote their interest, engagement, challenge, and self-management abilities. At the same time, in the practice of education and teaching, teachers can think about adjusting measures to local conditions, and flexibly launch stimuli to attract children to conduct in-depth inquiries. They can also send children invitations to play and learn through the ingenious design of stimuli. Even if induction and guidance are provided, the purpose is to offer children invitations to play and learn so that children who receive support can continue to enrich themselves.
Books – A Marvelous Tool for Inquiry
Speaker: Guoli Shen
Libraries play a central role in inquiry and are an essential source of information to support inquiry, stimulate discussion, and search for information. They help shape content and curriculum, as well as support and promote the development of reading, inquiry, multilingual literature, learning methods, teaching approaches, and learner profile attributes. Books support all learners and teachers to become better information inquirers, users, and creators. Not only do books create a common dialogue situation for students and stimulate discussion, inquiry, and reflection, they can also serve as an essential source of information within the scope of the inquiry unit, which helps to extend learning and teaching. Beyond the function of language, books play an exemplary and enlightening role in children's inquiry actions and support the development of thinking. Books provide a child-centered world in which abstract concepts are symbolized in words and images, constantly scaffolding students' understanding of the concepts. Different books can help teachers build an understanding-based curriculum framework, generate meaningful inquiry directions, and promote students’ in-depth inquiry.
Speaker: Paul-Renier Hattingh
The environment we create for students plays a vital role in their learning and development into independent learners. Allowing students to interact independently with their learning environment or learning materials gives us the freedom to observe, document, and provide scaffolding to help prepare them for their learning journey in the next few years. Not only learners, but we as educators, through hands-on experience, will be able to identify all aspects of learning and be able to understand the learning steps that learners will face throughout the inquiry; listen to students' opinions and implement them into planning materials, environments, or learning experiences. By allowing students to choose the interaction and learning content they want, their agency will be promoted. Pride shines, confidence blooms.
In order to give the “cloud” audience the opportunity to understand further the high-quality education practice and the experience which takes place in Golden Apple PYP kindergartens, a roundtable forum was specially arranged for this event. The six speakers of the lightning speech, Lan Ying (Principal of Golden Apple Jincheng Lake Kindergarten), Jin Xu (Golden Apple International American-English Kindergarten), and Kun Dong (Principal of Golden Apple Tianfu International Community Kindergarten), were invited. This group of professional preschool educators burst out a brilliant “educational spark” in exchanging and collating ideas.
Combined with the contents of the online questionnaire released earlier, participants shared their views in this roundtable forum on “What are the successful experiences and key points to note in the process of curriculum localization?”; “What are some ways to support effective collaboration between Chinese and foreign teachers?”; “How to maintain children's sustained interest in inquiry projects?”; “How is the transition from kindergarten to primary school carried out in PYP kindergartens?”; and other hot educational issues. Guests combined their own practical teaching experience and management experience of the kindergarten in their dialogue to share a lot of educational understandings and strategies in the front line of education – which is not only a practical teaching guide for the majority of preschool educators but also a beneficial ideological inspiration.
After enthusiastically sharing the participants' educational views, the public welfare “School Cloud Visit” activity at the turn of spring and summer came to an end. It made us more clearly realize that based on the children’s age characteristics and developmental needs, as well as observation and assessment of teachers, it is a constant pursuit and goal for every preschool educator to provide high-quality and challenging education in the future in order to support children's development.
According to the analytics, a total of 2,524 people signed up to participate in the public welfare "cloud visit to school" activity, the peak viewing volume of the online live broadcast room reached 11,800 people, and the likes of more than 335,000 times. In addition to educators and parents from China, educational colleagues from Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, the United States, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and New Zealand met with us in the "cloud" to discuss the development of high-quality preschool education.
The clarion call for the high-quality development of education in the new era has been sounded, which calls for every preschool educator to further implement the fundamental task of establishing morality and fostering students; respect the characteristics of children's age and the law of development; adhere to the combination of care and education; and constantly improve the level of kindergarten management and the quality of kindergarten education to meet the needs of the people for better education. The public welfare “School Cloud Visit” event, which took place in Golden Apple kindergartens, is not only a sincere and valuable dialogue on the localization development of IB education but also an opportunity for preschool educators to cooperate with parents to achieve high-quality development of early childhood education.
It's a great start for us to work together in the broader learning community and grow with our children into individuals with a rich inner worldview and active lifelong learners with positive actions.