Life’s one big playground

Updated: 2011-06-23 07:50

By Guo Shuhan (China Daily)

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Life’s one big playground

Windsor Bilingual Kindergarten wants its children to "go as far as they can" and not just "run as early as possible".

The private kindergarten, founded by Dulwich College Management International, aims to bring a breath of fresh air to early years education in China.

Windsor's teaching team believes that "play is indeed children's work and the means by which they grow and develop". Children at this kindergarten are encouraged to learn and explore the world around them actively through play.

To provide a large enough "playground" for students, the kindergarten's Legend Garden campus in the capital's Shunyi district boasts 2,250 square meters of interior space filled with large open classrooms, a multimedia library, and a multifunction gymnasium. The campus' 2,800-square-meter exterior includes a sports field, age-appropriate playing equipment and running tracks.

Each child in Windsor has his or her own learning journal, which is also a record of his or her growth and achievements over time. The journal contains the child's drawings, photos, anecdotes, teachers' observations and artworks. Parents can contribute to the contents with photos and logs of family journeys and other interesting activities.

Windsor also offers bridging courses, with instruction in pinyin, Chinese characters and arithmetic, for 5 and 6 year olds, to ease their entry into Chinese public primary schools.

"Chinese kindergartens stuff children with much that they should really be receiving instruction in only in their primary school years," says Chen Jianxiang, professor in early years education at Beijing Normal University. Chen points out that this stifles creativity.

He says private kindergartens such as Windsor can enable more children to benefit from their excellent education by training teachers in public nursery schools, as at present only a small group of families can afford the high cost of such education.

Windsor, meanwhile, is confident of reaching out to more parents.

"Bringing in a new product is difficult and Windsor's is a unique educational product. It takes time to meet parents' expectations of our kindergarten and get their acceptance of the benefits of our model," says Becky Jing, manager director of the kindergarten.

"We believe, with our educational foundation, children can begin their journeys toward happy and successful lives in an ever-changing world."

China Daily



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