Education Week profiles Erikson-China partnership

[img_caption src=”×200.jpg” align=”right” alt=”Photo: RYB educator at Chicago preschool”]Education Week profiled Erikson’s five-year partnership with RYB, the largest private provider of early education in China.

The partnership launched earlier this month with the first weeklong visit to Chicago by a group of Chinese educators. The group visited different preschools each day and used the afternoons to discuss what they saw and compare it to their own practice.

Exploring cultural differences

At one preschool, a Chinese visitor noticed a young child putting her shoes on the wrong feet, and the American teacher didn’t fix the shoes.

“The teacher said, we want children to dress correctly. But this child is just learning how to dress. The most important thing is to honor her accomplishment,” says Erikson professor Jie-Qi Chen, executive director of the partnership. “That response really shocked the Chinese team, and really deeply touched them. What they saw was attention to an individual child.”

Teachable moments

Professor Jie-Qi Chen
Another “teachable moment” came when children were told to draw about happiness, and all of their drawings were different. According to Chen, art activities in Chinese preschools focus more on mastering actual skills.

Chinese teachers tend to believe that it’s important to lead a child’s activities, while American teachers often observe children and use their play to create natural learning opportunities. The visitors “were impressed with the qualities of teachers we have here,” Chen said.

EDUCATION WEEK: Chinese Preschool Provider Partners with Chicago Early-Childhood Institute