Early birds catch the worm

Updated: 2011-06-23 07:50

By Lin Qi (China Daily)

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With the nation's growing number of nouveau-riche parents willing to spend on their children's pre-school education, international educational institutions are expanding their presence in the country.

They are not only opening more kindergartens but also strengthening cooperation with local institutions.

YES Kindergartens, an Australian education group, recently signed an agreement with the National Ballet of China (NBC), to add professional ballet training to the curriculum of five YES kindergartens in Beijing.

Feng Ying, director of NBC, says they will first design the curriculum and equip its dancers with teaching skills before dispatching them to the YES kindergartens.

"We will not teach complex ballet skills considering the age of kindergarten children and the importance of safety. The course will serve as an exposure to ballet for young children and cultivate a sense of art and beauty in them," she says. "As a national art troupe, NBC has long been committed to the promotion of public art education. We conduct many ballet workshops in universities, secondary and primary schools every year. We would also like to contribute to the physical and mental well-being of pre-school children."

YES Kindergartens entered the China market in 2005 and now manages five kindergartens in Beijing, with a total enrolment of more than 700 children. Its expansion plans include not only more kindergartens in Beijing, but also forays into Shanghai and Fujian province.

"Our goal is to develop a nationwide network of about 50 high quality kindergartens, tailored to meet the enormous need for early childhood education among Chinese parents and equipped with talented Chinese and international staff," Mark Vaile, president of YES, says.

According to the National Outline for Medium and Long Term Educational Reform and Development of China (2010-2020), the government estimates that 34 million children will attend kindergartens by 2015. In 2009, 26.58 million children went to kindergartens around the country.

China Daily



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