Early childhood care and education in china
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Early Childhood Care and Education in China Monica Lysack What was I expecting? Small, crowded facilities A lower standard of care than Canada in terms of ratios, health and safety standards, and equipment Programs that were over-structured and teacher-directed

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What was I expecting?

  • Small, crowded facilities

  • A lower standard of care than Canada in terms of ratios, health and safety standards, and equipment

  • Programs that were over-structured and teacher-directed

  • Inequities due to income and gender

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What I found:

  • High quality programs; better-trained and well-respected educators

  • Large, beautiful, well-designed facilities

  • Programs that are accessible to the majority of families, regardless of income

  • Happy, valued, well-cared-for children!

  • That I had a great deal to question about my own values as an Early Childhood Educator

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  • Facilities

  • These schools were designed and built as Early Childhood facilities.

  • The dedication of these large spaces solely for the use of young children, in a place where space is at a premium, tells us something about how this culture values children.

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  • Outdoor Play Spaces

  • large spaces

  • wide variety of activities and equipment, including those typically found indoors (e.g. blocks, water table)

  • paddling pools

  • variety of surfaces, levels, and textures

  • beautiful environments

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Safely enclosed spaces promote active, involved outdoor play.

Children may choose independent play or they may prefer to be involved in teacher-led group games.

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Indoor Environments play.

This toddler room has slightly scaled down equipment similar to that in preschool rooms.

  • Arranged by interest centres.

  • Uncluttered, well-designed space.

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Rooms are large, bright, and cheery. play.

Aesthetics and cleanliness are important aspects of the environment.

Usually thirty preschool children are accommodated in each group with three teachers. Each group has access to several large rooms.

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A room just for napping or sleeping overnight if necessary. play.

Each child has her or his own bed which helps to create a sense of belonging. The environment is relaxed and warm; children know that it is a quiet place to rest or sleep.

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Bathrooms play.

These bathrooms show traditional Chinese toilets. The potty-chair assists children who need support. Bathrooms are clean, and centrally located to allow easy access from any room.

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Equipment and Resources play.

The storage room in this school contained a large number of well-maintained toys that are rotated throughout the rooms.

They were very proud of their teacher-made materials and resources.

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I was surprised to see multicultural materials! play.

The organization of materials reflects a Montessori influence.

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Health play.

The resident doctor posts the results of check ups and developmental screening for parents and teachers to review.

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Nutrition play.

The menu board indicates the nutritious foods that will be served that week, along with pictures for non-readers.

All meals, snacks, and beverages are provided for the children.

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Activity Centres play.

All buildings that we observed have this type of hallway outside of the regular classroom. It is a perfect space for activity centres. Lots of windows provide natural lighting.

The math centre includes manipulatives and visual representation of math concepts.

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The Project Approach play.

Children developed this “under-the-sea” theme on their own. Educators provided resources and support; children created!

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Following the project approach... play.

This is what children saw outside their classroom window:

construction equipment including scaffolding and cranes.

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This three-dimensional creation is the children’s response to what they saw outside.

They were provided with a collection of everyday, recycled materials in the creative arts activity centre.

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Social Studies to what they saw outside.

This room is used for an organized social studies activity.

Displays in the room are a balance of both teacher-made and child-made materials. They are reflective of the world around them.

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Children re-create their community. to what they saw outside.

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Fine Arts to what they saw outside.

Introducing the fine arts to young children seems to be an important educational value. Every classroom has a piano. The music room provides a wide variety of instruments, enough for every child in the group of thirty. Children receive direct instruction from qualified teachers.

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Sports and Recreation to what they saw outside.

This is a photograph of the daycare’s soccer team. Their team plays other daycare teams.

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Early Literacy to what they saw outside.

Early literacy is promoted through the use of single characters associated with a picture of the concept that it represents.

Visual clues, like this poster in the bathroom showing a child brushing her teeth, remind children of what is expected.

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Social Development to what they saw outside.

Since families in China have only one child, socialization is very important. Children like to “cluster” and this is encouraged by the teachers.

I know this game! No matter where we are in the world, children inviting adults to share tea is a universal game!

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Adult-Child Interactions to what they saw outside.

Adults and children interact in a very relaxed manner. It appears that adults and children share a sense of mutual respect. The environment is not a controlling one, yet children do not act out or demonstrate challenging behaviours. Adults are warm and empathetic.

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Closing Reflections to what they saw outside.

What are the similarities and differences between early childhood education in Canada and in China?

What are some cultural and contextual factors that influence these differences?

What can we in Canada learn from the Chinese early childhood care and education system?