This article appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Erikson on Children under the headline "Erikson in China." More from this issue

Erikson was selected for a major new partnership with Red Yellow Blue Education Institution (RYB), the largest private provider of early childhood education in China. RYB came to Erikson last year to discuss a collaboration because of Erikson’s international reputation.

“We are thrilled to be invited to bring our expertise and experience to the emerging early child field in China,” says Erikson president Geoffrey Nagle. “Ultimately, this partnership also will serve to enrich and improve our work and educational efforts here in Chicago and throughout the U.S.”

Yanlai Shi, president of RYB, says, “We wanted to partner with the best. Erikson has an incredible reputation in the field of early childhood for its unique approach and expertise in preparing early childhood professionals.”

About the Erikson-RYB partnership

The partnership furthers Chicago’s international reputation as a hub for innovative early childhood education and care. At the same time, it will improve Erikson’s initiatives in Chicago and nationwide as the partnership provides a unique opportunity to deepen the cultural understanding and responsiveness that is a core component of Erikson’s education and training programs.

Together, Erikson and RYB developed a five-year partnership, during which more than 1,000 of RYB’s early education professionals will learn about leading U.S. early childhood education practices and theory through online and in-person training programs in both Chicago and China.

Chicago-based program launches May 11

Through the partnership, Erikson will train RYB leaders, front-line teachers, and caregivers, thereby impacting the organization’s services at the system and classroom levels.

The partnership formally launches on May 11 with the arrival in Chicago of 35 childcare center directors and other RYB leaders for the weeklong Leadership Enhancement Program. The group will engage in an intensive study of early childhood education models in the U.S. Accompanied by Erikson experts, they will visit childcare centers, schools, and a children’s museum to observe and reflect on different teaching models in this country, program management, and leadership. The program will run four times per year through 2019.

Beginning in July, Erikson will launch two graduate certificate programs for RYB classroom teachers — Infant Studies and Preschool Teacher Development. Teachers can complete the certificate programs either online or through in-person courses taught in China by Erikson faculty.

“This project bridges eastern and western early childhood theory and practice,” says Jie-Qi Chen, Erikson professor and executive director of the partnership. “Chinese early childhood education has begun to adopt some western approaches, and there is much that the western world can learn from China. The partnership will be a great case study on two cultures coming together to benefit children and families.”