Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Update on progress of programme starting in Shenzhen

Update on the progress since last year at the Shenzhen Experimental Kindergarten, China

2017 provided yet another opportunity for me to spend time working with the teachers in China. The first stop of this trip was Shenzhen. This is a quite fabulous early childhood setting with a tremendous drive to provide fabulous learning experiences for their 250 children!

When I first arrived at the Kindergarten, Rainy took us on a tour of the kindergarten to share some of the progress since my last visit. In particular she shared the work of Learning Stories and Portfolios. All the classrooms have set up areas for portfolios and couches to sit on and read the portfolios. The work that has been done is extremely impressive. Throughout the week I had an opportunity to learn more about the progress they have made with their work on Learning Stories

Rainy sharing the work that teachers have done on Learning Stories and their Portfolios.

This visit to Shenzhen included a conference that built on the last week long conference around Te Whāriki and Learning Stories.
Wendy and Zhou Jing (translator), also known as Jane.

Wendy and Zhou Jing (translator) redefine "PLAY " and the value of play to the teachers.

Teachers are engaged and curious, keen to explore these ideas and consider how they might become a part of their practice!
Raising issues about the notion of children are constantly exploring and discovering the world around them by playing. Encouraging teachers to pay attention to and support the children in their play. To give children agency as they choose the focus of their learning. I talked about the importance of providing a safe, rich environment, and the importance of children having plenty of time to explore. We also discussed a wide range of issues including: the importance of teachers listening deeply to children, in an effort to really discover the child's interest or passion, to  find the child's WOW moment and to record this in a Learning Story.
Teachers express their enthusiasm for this work and the implications for their teaching practice.

Environment Creation
The following photos give a sense of the environments that are being developed in the kindergartens to provide a wide range of affordances for the children and their learning. Shenzhen Experimental Kindergarten teams are shifting their thinking, so that children choose, explore, operate, through the material, environment, peer interaction to promote children holistic development!

Shenzhen Experimental Kindergarten 26th Pioneer Technology Festival Opening

While I was at the kindergarten, they held the opening of the Technology Programme. They asked me to officially open the event. This was for me quite an extraordinary event quite different from anything that I would experience in New Zealand. There are two very strong parent clubs at the Shenzhen kindergartens, one for fathers and another for mothers. The parents are deeply engaged in the life of the kindergarten. For this Technology Festival they were key participants in this very special production….

The Technology Festival was held in both the Shenzhen Kindergartens, these are images from the opening of the Festival.

An exploration of the robot!
Older children join the younger children as they explore some of the technologies.
A range of technology is on display for the children to play with.
Children contribute to the programme.
Parents also contribute to the programme. This is a mother singing a song from 'Frozen'.
Much to the delight of the children, snow fell during the performance by the mother.
Fathers also contributed to the performance!!
Teachers were also very much a part of this event!!
I spoke a little about the importance of technology as part of the opening.
Teachers contributing.
Children contributing.
And now the formal opening!!!
A celebration with all contributing.

Children participating in the festival.

Dehui Shuangxiu - Shenzhen experimental kindergarten "Wisdom College" was formally established
This is another development at Shenzhen Experimental Kindergarten. While I was in Shenzhen they were launching a new professional learning initiative called the Wisdom programme. I was invited to address the gathering and assist with the launch.

Wisdom Institute is initiated by the Shenzhen Experimental Kindergarten and set up a teacher training camp for teachers to provide opportunites for learning and practice, designed to cultivate freedom, innovation, content, and to support the hard work carried out by teachers. They were developing a space where anyone has the opportunity to express their personal ideas, fully agreeing that ideas can be respected, that there is no standard answer, there is no black or white right or wrong, in the space of the Wisdom College they are hoping that innovation and excellence will flourish.

Here are some images from the opening of the Wisdom College

Traditional growth file versus the Learning Story growth file
Shenzhen experimental kindergarten teachers,  have begun a new attempt to challenge the traditional growth of the file to "study the story" for children in the kindergarten to establish a happy file. There has been such wonderful progress with the notion of the Learning Story entering the lives of the children and their families at Shenzhen Kindergartens. Teachers are sharing stories and providing their own professional learning around Learning Stories. Our books have been translated into Chinese and provide an important foundation to the work. In particular the books they are using are:

Assessment in Early Childhood Setting: Learning Stories by Margaret Carr
Learning Stories: Constructing Learner Identity in Early Education by Margaret Carr and Wendy Lee
Learning in the Making: Disposition and Design in Early Education by Margaret Carr, Anne Smith, Judith Duncan, Carolyn Jones, Wendy Lee and Kate Marshall.

The books translated into Chinese.
Teachers sharing their work.
Teachers celebrating, they have been given a copy of our book on Learning Stories - Learning Stories: Constructing Learner identity in the early years.

Another opportunity for a photo!!