Shanghai Xiehe Education Kindergarten Principals Successfully Complete Their Study Tour
During the 2019 Chinese National Day Holiday, 22 principals from Haifu Kindergarten and Xiehe Education Kindergarten started their study tour, under CHEN Xiaoyun and the headmaster of Haifu Kindergarten. The tour’s theme was “Harvard's Early Education Philosophy and Inclusive Education Systems in the U.S.” During the study tour, they visited Harvard University where they met with and learned from Professor Junlei Li, senior lecturer in Early Education at the Harvard University School of Education. While in Boston and Washington D.C., the group visited kindergartens that have been recognized for their excellence. They visited the CDA Council to learn about the CDA Credentialing Program and the Professional Development Specialist (PDS) certification. To finish the tour, they visited the Division of Early Learning in the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to discuss strategies for the development of inclusive education that has become dominant in the United States. In the end, the principals said that the study tour was a worthwhile experience.
Guidelines for Early Childhood Education in the United States
1. Respect children, advocate for their freedom, and value their freewill.
⚫ Educators keep track and record children’s activities to observe and evaluate children.
⚫ Toddlers lead their own education. Whenever there are conflicts or problems in their daily life, educators oversee children communicating and making adjustments together.
⚫ Daily schedules are set flexibly according to the needs of parents and children. Academic fees are set based on the needs of parents and the quality of education provided by the kindergarten.
⚫ There are some group activities. Teachers arrange activities according to the personalities and the abilities of the children and encourage them to choose their favorite games and activities.
⚫ Educators pay attention to the interests and conflicts that occur between children during activity time, and, based on these, generate themed activities or discussions.
2. Focus on children's development of independence.
⚫ Educators encourage the development of independence early (ages 0-3).
⚫ Educators believe that participation is extremely important. The feelings and knowledge gained as well as the competency developed during these activities are crucial to a child’s education.
3. Incorporate multicultural education.
⚫ Educators encourage a coexistence and mutual respect amongst the children’s cultures. Educators maintain peace and facilitate relationships to achieve cooperation during activities.
⚫ Educators maintain an understanding of their own culture, learn from other’s cultures, and, from this, create a comfortable social circle among the children.
4. Gain the support of government and higher institutions.
⚫ The continuing education and training system for teachers in the U.S. is well-established, and professional study material is comprehensive. Educators can choose their own personal method of training, promoting independent learning and growth.
⚫ There is a database where teachers’ background information is open and easily accessible. The database contains positive and negative records of teachers’ previous work from verifiable references. A teacher’s certification is dependent on their work experience.
⚫ ECE school websites display the support of the government in the form of kindergarten licenses, teacher licenses, parent training, etc.
⚫ Educators are required to pay close attention to and give personalized care for children with special needs, observing and intervening in activities when necessary (particularly children ages 0-3).
5. Maintain a healthy balance between rules and freedom.
⚫ Educators communicate clearly which choices the children should make themselves.
⚫ To the parents, ECE admission notices include the note, “Ensure that your child can adapt to daily life in the kindergarten,” allowing parents to take joint responsibility for children's learning, emotional management, and development of life skills.