BIEA runs first EYFS training session in Shenzhen

On 8th of January, 2019, the first EYFS training course run by the British International Education Association E-League project team was successfully concluded in Shenzhen. This training course lasted for 4 days and was attended by a group of early years educators who were interested in new teaching ideas and the intentional development of British early years education. The course was led by Ms Sharron Fogarty, BIEA’s E-League Teaching and Research Director who has been named as an “Outstanding” inspector by the British Education Standards Institute. She started the course with a basic run-through of EYFS in the UK and then led the teachers through the current status of EYFS adoption of EYFS in China.

During the four-day training teachers learned the basic content of the "EYFS Program Document". Under the leadership of Sharron, they learned the relationship between EYFS games and learning, how EYFS games promote children's independent learning, and how that ties into the key message of the EYFS system. Also explained was the role of the key person system and how the design of the learning environment is involved in many important aspects of the field and to successful learning outcomes.

Sharron gave a lecture on the various the problems faced by EYFS adoption raised by students and elements of the cultural differences between China and the UK which could cause complication. This kind of theoretical learning combined with games that reflected the practical problems of EYFS implementation was welcomed by the teachers.

When talking to the teachers about their thoughts of the training, a teacher from a private nursery in Xi'an commented that; “I have benefited a lot from attending this training class. Sharron is very professional and her lecture was very interesting. The organizers also provided us with the corresponding textbooks to facilitate our preview and review. I am now eager to go back to share and discuss the adoption plan with the director."

The recognition given by the trainees for the quality of the training session has given the BIEA E-league team confidence and motivation to continue to provide British early years education support to teachers who are in China and looking to adopt EYFS in their own settings. We look forward to providing the second phase of the EYFS training in March which will bring more in-depth and practical EYFS knowledge to early-years education practitioners.


BIEA accredits Shenzhen Guancui Cooperation Nursery

On December 9th, Sharron Fogarty, UK Teaching and Research Director of the BIEA Early Years League (E-League) and Jie Bai, Director of E-League (China) attended the Guancui International Nursery (part of the Shenzhen Guan Cui Education Group) parents' briefing and then conducted the BIEA EYFS Cooperation Nursery accreditation ceremony.

During the briefing session, Sharron presented the British concept of EYFS to the participating parents. She gave a detailed explanation of the goals that EYFS was created to accomplish in developing children, including what kind of environment to provide and how to effectively teach young people. The listening audience was very receptive to Sharron’s explanation, making it clear to them how EYFS would work in a Chinese context.

 

After the briefing, Sharron and Jie awarded the “BIEA EYFS Cooperation Nursery” plaque to the Shenzhen Guancui Education Group, marking the start of their official collaboration with BIEA who will provide full resource support to the group. Jia Liu, General Manager of Shenzhen Guancui Education Group gratefully accepted the plaque and delivered a speech to the waiting audience.

 

As an internationally known and respected system, EYFS is not only concerned by early-years educational experts but has also gradually gained mainstream interest from parents in China. Due to internet firewalls the amount of previous information about EYFS that parents could access was limited. The clear explanation delivered by Sharron clarified and deepened the understanding of the parents who were interested in the EYFS system, making them confident in sending their children to EYFS nursery.

 

 

As the cooperation nursery of BIEA, Shenzhen Guancui Education Group has support in EYFS teaching resources provided by the BIEA E-League membership programme. It will also receive regular guidance and support from the early-years education experts from the UK as part of its membership. After the parent briefing session and the award ceremony, parents were eager to send their children to the Shenzhen Guancui International Nursery. Some parents even signed their children up on the spot creating some fierce pre-registration by parents worried they would not be able to get a place if they delayed.

 

The enthusiastic response of the parents has enabled BIEA to continue to recognise the needs of Chinese parents in adapting to the EYFS system. The BIEA E-League will continue to provide comprehensive and professional EYFS services for its E-League partners and members and continue to fully support domestic nurseries in adopting EYFS, bringing the best learning support to children and the best education options to parents.


BIEA attended the 5th China Early Years Education Conference

BIEA’s Early Years Chairman Chris Waterman and Head of E-League Sharron Fogarty both attended the 5th China Early Years Education Conference in Hangzhou this week, both giving lectures to a packed audience on issues relating to EYFS.

Chris presented on “Policy Development and Future of Early Years Education in the UK,” which was centred around the premise of letting every child have the opportunity to realise their potential, regardless of their family background and their environment. A hot topic in China right now in early-years circles as more and more parents opt for a more liberal style of teaching for their children, Chris’s words received an enthusiastic welcome from the attending teachers.  Chris then participated in a panel discussion with Sinia Roth, Dot Alam, Lu Mingkai and Zheng Fuming who are all experts across the field of early-years education. Chris rounded out the session by posing for photos with the Chinese teachers.

Sharron Fogarty, BIEA’s Teaching and Research Director talked about “Interpretation of the framework and concept of EYFS” but during her talk addressed other pressing issues which concern Chinese adopters of EYFS practices such as the way teaching is affected under the EYFS system and how EYFS could create a positive environment for children. Sharron then engaged the audience in a Q&A session in which many of the teachers actively participated, wanting to get as much from possible from her expertise.  


Cooperation nursery visit

From mid-September, BIEA started to received applications from interested international nurseries in Shanghai, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Xi'an and Beijing due to the E-League (Early Years League) project which BIEA is fully launching in early 2019, the program is specifically designed to catering for early years education through British EYFS techniques.

The E-League R&D team went to Xi'an during the week of China’s National Day holiday in October 2018 to conduct a preliminary inspection of one of the interested organisations, visiting the location of the New Zun International nursery, which has applied to become an official E-League cooperation nursery.

The study tour mainly focused on two aspects: “understanding whether the nursery's EYFS concept is recognised” and “whether the nursery environment and the teachers qualified as being a cooperation nursery”.

The E-League R&D team held an in-depth idea exchange with the core staff and teachers of the New Zun International Nursery on the UK EYFS system. During the visit and they found that the operation team of the New Zun International Nursery had a deep understanding of EYFS and recognised the essence of British early years education - “respecting the child's personality + building positive relationship + stimulating ability.” Building an environment with this quality has been proven to enhance the learning and growth of children.

The head of the New Zun International Nursery then led the E-league R&D team to visit the nursery environment itself. When introducing the main environment, the head of the school once again reiterated the strong demand for authentic British early years education resources from the parents of his nursery.

During the visit, The E-League R&D team told the director of the New Zun International Nursery to record the details of the visit and inform the UK E-League committee of their current demand for authentic British early years education resources. At the same time, it was recommended that while the nursery was waiting for the assessment results from the UK committee, they could start learning from the EYFS resource packages and pay close attention to the CPD training information released by the BIEA E-League program, to gradually improve on their EYFS knowledge.


BIEA shortlisted for British Business Awards

On the 26th of September BIEA was shortlisted to receive the sustainability award as part of the British Business Awards which is run by the British Chamber of Commerce in China.

The aim of the awards is to recognise British business that export to or with within China and seeks to reward and encourage British companies who work in this demanding, but ultimately rewarding sector.

BIEA is delighted to use this opportunity to showcase the sustainability of its business model and publicise its efforts within the early-years and STEM sectors of Chinese education provision. The full announcement of prizes will take place in Beijing on the 15th of November.

More details can be found here: https://www.britishchamber.cn/announcing-the-finalists-of-the-2018-british-business-awards/


BIEA conducts first visit to Shenzhen demonstration nursery

In early July, BIEA and Guancui Education Group signed a strategic cooperation agreement in Shenzhen on building “China's first EYFS demonstration nursery.” At the end of August, the BIEA early years education team were able to conduct their first visit to the demonstration nursery.

The visit mainly focused on seeing how the nursery carried out two major areas: EYFS training for the Shenzhen demonstration nursery team and tracking the progress of EYFS implementation in the Shenzhen demonstration nursery as well as carrying out an assessment of present and future needs.

During the visit, the head of the BIEA's early-years education team introduced the background and teaching characteristics of EYFS, how to adapt EYFS to help children’s learning and development, EYFS environmental creation alongside other aspects of EYFS. The lively demonstration of examples and the theories from UK nurseries gave the participants a comprehensive and profound understanding of the EYFS, which they found helpful in assisting the Shenzhen demonstration nursery team to further promote the implementation of the EYFS within the setting.

After the EYFS training, the BIEA early-years education team and the Shenzhen demonstration nursery team talked about the topic of progress tracking, summarising EYFS promotion work, and deciding on the needs of the next project. They requested “pre-implementation training for teachers”, guidance on “environmental creation (regional construction)”, “one-day routine schedule development” and “home-school education provision” before fully implementing EYFS within the setting. The BIEA early-years education team recorded the above requirements and was able to confirm that they would be addressed within the time required.

With an increasing demand for the British early-years education, more and more international nurseries have recorded a strong interest in British EYFS and want to apply it in their own settings. The BIEA Shenzhen demonstration nursery cooperation project has set a benchmark for EYFS implementation in China.

BIEA also plans to launch the E-league (An alliance promoting British Early Years Education) project in response to the current strong demand. Backed by BIEA's rich and authentic British education resources, the project provides localised and diversified authentic British education resources for overseas nurseries that want to implement the EYFS system. BIEA hopes that helping nurseries in China to fully upgrade their teaching courses to enhance competitiveness via EYFS will prove transformative for teachers, parents and students alike.


BIEA discusses the future with the Department for International Trade

On the 31st of August, BIEA met with a representative from the Department for International Trade (DIT) to discuss government support for its overseas programmes so that it can continue to expand its mission to export the best of British education overseas.

BIEA’s Early Years Chairman Chris Waterman led a discussion on EYFS quality assurance and how accreditation processes worked overseas and how BIEA was ready to ensure its own CPD qualifications met the rigorously high standards that had been laid out. The discussion also focused on teacher training programs, BIEA’s upcoming E-league accreditation program for overseas teachers and the details of the BIEA membership supermarket.

BIEA and the DIT look forward to continuing to work together in pursuing interests for British education in China, following the official line of the British government in promoting EYFS education overseas and helping UK educational services providers to grow.


BIEA conducts inaugural overseas study tour

At the start of August, BIEA ran its inaugural overseas study tour for a group of 11 visiting EYFS professionals from China. The group consisted of nursery teachers, principals and investors, all looking to increase their understanding of British EYFS practice.

After landing and having a day to relax in London the group started off with a session at Kintore Way Nursery in South London in which Rebecca Sherwood welcomed the group and gave them a detailed rundown of how modern British nurseries operated and allowed the group a look at how a small – from a Chinese perspective – modern nursery operates.

The following day the group remained in South London, visiting First Place Nursery to take part in an EYFS workshop by education expert Karen Pereira. The group was taken through important concepts such as the role of the ‘key person’ in nursery environments as well as advanced topics like cohort data tracking which was of particular interest to the group as some had interests across several institutions across China. This was followed by a tour of the building by one of the staff to give the group a deeper insight into the running of the nursery.

The next day the group left London to go to Kent College near Canterbury to see how nurseries functioned in the independent sector. They were met by the headmaster of the junior school Andy Carter who gave a welcome talk and guided them around his school. The group took the journey that one of the school’s own students would, starting in the purpose-built nursery space and then graduating through the classes and finishing in the school’s impressive communal areas.  Before moving onto Ashford school as the next stop the group stopped for a photo opportunity at the historic Kent College senior school.

At Ashford, the group was shown around by Sue Yates and shown the variety of activities that children in this expansive nursery could do. They toured grounds and listened while staff explained how they wanted to encourage independent and confident children. The group was particularly interested in some of the specialist equipment that the nursery was using and were keen to find out more.

 

Day four was back in London where the group visited three nurseries. The first was Snowflakes Nursery in North West London which was a diverse and lively environment, group members and BIEA staff got the chance to get messy, playing with cornmeal to investigate how densities changed. The staff guided the group through the Montessori system which they were then keen to learn more about. The second stop of the day also used Montessori, the Grange Montessori Nursery impressed the group with its facilities and how even very young children were taught practical skills such as how to tie shoes and to eat with cutlery alongside EYFS and Montessori development. The group was lucky enough to stay and observe the children at lunch and see what a typical nursery offered children to eat, in this case, lamb, pasta and melon.

The day finished with a trip to the Archway Children’s Centre which made an impression due to its large, clean and art-gallery like building. As a council funded facility, the staff were keen to show how the space was used by children from the local community and let the group explore its jaw-dropping garden, complete with a chicken coop and a waterfall. The centre runs its own forest school program which was something that the visiting teachers were very interested to learn more about and possibly develop in China. The group also saw the children’s art which is displayed around the walls in a simple but professional way. The day finished with BIEA Chairwoman Nikki Collins giving out transcript certificates and BIEA’s Alex Zhang giving a presentation about the BIEA e-league program.

The final day of the tour consisted of a trip to Bath to visit Norland College, the training centre of the world’s most well-regarded nannies and the only school in the UK to offer a solely EYFS related degree. The group was greeted by the vice principle Mandy Donaldson who took them through how the college worked and why it was so well regarded that even members of the royal family used their nannies. The group was interested in how the college worked and the international spread of its students. Lecturer Elizabeth Kerry filled in the history of the college and gave a tour of the cutting-edge facility to the group before signing the BIEA banner alone with all the teachers. The group then finished the day with an exploration of the beautiful city of Bath before heading back to London.

We look forward to organising an even bigger study tour in 2019 and hope it has allowed our teachers to spread British EYFS practice into their own schools.

 


BIEA visits the Archway Children's Centre

Today, BIEA visited the Archway Children’s Centre located in hip North London see just how Ciara Rush, the nursery’s headteacher, encourages critical thinking in the little ones under her care.

Located in a spacious, modern building on a side street close to Archway tube station, the Archway Children Centre and Nursery School is the hub of childcare provision in this up and coming cosmopolitan district.

 

Despite being over 15 years old, the clean lines of the building and bright interior could fool us into thinking the premises are brand new. The maintenance team has done a fantastic job in creating a warm and inviting space for both children and the wider community that the centre serves.

The children's work is displayed by the centre's wonderful staff purposefully without frames or cutouts, with original pieces displayed against white walls in a gallery chic contemporary style. Ciara and her staff put up the artwork displays believing that by showing the artwork exactly as it is, without any adornment, the children can remember it better for what it is and thus have a deeper sense of connection with it as a piece of art that they have created.

 

The materials for the artworks are inexpensive and the centre makes the best use of Archway’s ample outdoor resources (free of course). Leaves, twigs and grass are all fashioned into stunning objet d’art by the children and greet visitors on the wall as they walk in.

The organisation is Islington's leading nursery when it comes to delivering creative art sessions to children. One example is that rather than being given a full range of colours, children are shown how to mix colours instead to make new ones themselves. This skill helps children to understand and appreciate colour compositions and stimulate experimentation and creativity.

The Archway Children’s Centre is one of the organisations that we are looking forward to sharing with visiting Chinese early years practitioners this coming August as part of BIEA’s showcase of outstanding British education practice to an international audience.


BIEA Holds Inaugural Drone Awards

On the 28th of June, BIEA reached the conclusion of its first Drone Design Competition with an awards ceremony held at the South of England Showground in Sussex.

The competition reached 2500 schools across the country. 10 teams, ranging across junior, intermediate and senior categories, from state and independent schools, from around the UK, were invited to the final ceremony.

The competition was designed by a group of experts in STEM education and STEM competition designs. The challenge for students was to create a drone that could respond to a potential disaster situation of their choice.

All 10 teams had the chance to present their designs to over 11,000 students and teachers at the Big Bang South East fair, the largest regional STEM education fair in the country. BIEA guests included David Hanson from the independent Association of Prep Schools, Iqbal Khan from Olivebranch Syria and Heather Williams of the British Science Association, who toured the student’s efforts and had the chance to ask questions about their designs.

The student-designed drones included plans for a decontamination unit for radiation disaster zones, rescue-at-sea drones and innovative models for search-and-rescue. Some students had even built full-scale models of what their design would look like. After two weeks of judging in June, the first-place prizes went to: London Meed Primary School for the junior category, independent student Alexander Gray for the intermediate and Highworth Grammar in the senior division.

BIEA Trustee Nikki Colins addressed the audience in her keynote speech, highlighting the impressive standards of entry for this year’s competition. She outlined how, in the next twelve months, our commitment to reach diverse and under-served audiences will form the very basis of BIEA’s programme design and development. This is reflected in next year’s international drone competition as students from the UK and China will be invited to tackle global issues and team up to collaborate with children in Syria. This competition concept is made possible through our partnership with Olivebranch Syria, a humanitarian NGO dedicated to serving the Syrian people and ensuring education can still be provided within the on-going conflict.

The climax of the day saw all the winning teams receiving their very own modular drone to put their ideas into reality. These light models were donated by our partner Goertek, who share the same international education mission as BIEA. Goertek is a global leader in drone and VR technology. With a focus on enhancing science education experiences in young people around the world, Goertek is investing in education drone development as part of its corporate social responsibility programme.

The awards were followed by a synchronised drone display by Goertek programming experts Eddie Fei and Alan Song.  The drones impressed on the audience what they were capable of by performing a synchronised dance routine over a specially designed QR coded carpet and provided a fitting end to the ceremony.

BIEA could not be happier with the event and wishes to thank Big Bang, STEM Sussex, Goertek, Olivebranch, BSA and all of the hard-working volunteers and staff that made it possible. BIEA looks forward to returning next year with an even bigger and better event.