The Most Important Years

2019-06-26 Nick Bowley

Dear YueCheng Community Members,

You have probably read several announcements on WeChat about the new YueCheng Courtyard Kindergarten that will open in October. In this latest superintendent's message, I have therefore decided to write about what underlies the foundation of this unusual new school.

In response to increasing demand for modern, research-based education, YueCheng Education has decided to build upon the success of Beijing City International School (BCIS) to offer different but complementary educational opportunities for a wider community of families. You already know about the Learning Frontier and the Reading Frontier and soon there will be a new kind of school for young children, the Courtyard Kindergarten.

As an educator, I have often been asked the following question - which are the most important years in a child's education?  Of course, they are all important, but if I really had to choose I would say:  the early years. This is the age when children develop an excitement for learning and when they acquire habits for life. The quality of the curriculum and the skills of the early childhood teacher have a profound impact on every person's life. 

A common misconception is that teaching young children is easy because they are young and therefore only need to learn simple things. Nothing could be further from the truth! Early childhood schools lay the foundation for happy, confident and productive lives. The standard of planning, pedagogy and assessment that are required are of a very high order. The teacher has to be completely up to date on these matters, and at the same time she must have the cognitive and socio-emotional skills to inhabit the thinking of the infant's rapidly-developing young brain.

Good early childhood schools are not all the same. From October, YCE will offer two distinctive options for parents of very young children. The much-loved BCIS Early Childhood Center will continue to attract far more families than it is possible to accommodate. This school is well-known for its IB PYP program that the leadership and faculty have immeasurably improved through the development of personalized, play-based pedagogy.

The new YueCheng Courtyard Kindergarten (which is not part of BCIS) will open its doors in the fall of this year. This early childhood school has developed its own learning program based on a somewhat different but equally distinctive foundation. Very briefly, there are four cornerstones to its foundation, as follows:

The Mission states the reason why the Kindergarten exists. It is simple yet profound: The YueCheng Kindergarten mission is to empower every child to enjoy a positive and purposeful life.

Drawing upon the mission, three further guiding statements give substance to the learning program: 

The Impacts: these succinctly state the acquired skills, dispositions and values that will empower children to enjoy a positive and purposeful life.

The YCKG Approach: this describes the eleven distinctive characteristics that shape the purpose and content of the curriculum.

The Learning Principles: These describe the expectations for children, for teachers and for parents. They lie at the heart of a unified and dynamic learning community.

You will find these statements and much more on the official WeChat account at “YueChengKG”. Alternatively, you may email me at nick.bowley@yuechengeducation.com, and I will be most happy to answer your questions.

With warm regards,

Nick Bowley