Morley, Graham and Glazzard, Jonathan (2011) Can Hearts and Minds be Changed in an ‘Experimental’ Chinese Kindergarten. In: Creative engagements : Thinking with children. 7th Global Conference, 4th-6th July 2011, 4-6th July 2011, Mansfield College, Oxford. (Unpublished)

This paper reviews a visit to a private university kindergarten in Beijing. Further visits are planned to continue to monitor developments. The kindergarten was recommended as an example of innovative provision. The university own thirty kindergarten schools throughout the city and are patronised by wealthy Chinese families. We found some of these kindergartens to be teaching in a didactic manner. The kindergarten was a member of the International Baccalaureate (IB) of schools who were authorised to use the Primary Years Programme (PYP). The most significant and distinctive feature of the IB Primary Years Programme is the six transdisciplinary themes. These themes of: Who we are; Where we are in place and time; How we express ourselves; How the world works; How we organize ourselves and Sharing the planet are intended to offer a balance between learning about or through the subject areas, and learning beyond them by allowing students to "step up" beyond the confines of learning within subject areas. This is achieved by the teachers developing a programme of inquiries which are in-depth investigations into important ideas and require a high level of involvement on the part of the pupils. It is acknowledged that assessment is an important part of each unit of inquiry as it both enhances learning and provides opportunities for pupils to reflect on what they know, understand and can do. The teacher's feedback to the pupils provides the guidance, the tools and the incentive for them to become more competent, more skilful and better at understanding how to learn.
The experimental setting was also used for trainees at the university as well as kindergarten practitioners throughout Beijing. We focused on identifying commonalities and differences between the Early Years provision in the Chinese kindergarten and what we would expect to see in England.

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