Shanghai is a wonderful city , but what should you choose for your kids ?
What choice you Have ?
A Chinese Kindergarten ?
Wellington's approach to kindergarten in Shanghai
Kindness, Curiosity and Creativity Wellington's approach to kindergarten in Shanghai. The start of a child’s formal education is a time of great change and one that is defined by a constant stream of new challenges.
Kindness, Curiosity and Creativity: Wellington's approach to kindergarten in Shanghai
The following sections briefly summarise the core components to our Pre-Prep educational approach, many of which differ from comparable international kindergarten education in Shanghai.
The Curriculum: Giving every pupil the means to succeed
Pre-Prep schooling is an extremely important time in a child’s development, as it represents their introduction to formal education and allows them to acquire a wide range of both social and academic skills. It’s also a new experience for parents, who will see their children head off to school for the first time and will watch them discover a world of new opportunities. Throughout the Early Years and KS1, it’s vital that both teachers and parents work together to encourage their children and help them adapt to their new learning environment.
Our approach to Early Years teaching
Here at Wellington College International Shanghai, we follow the UK’s Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, which is organised into seven key learning areas. The prime areas focus on a child’s personal, social and emotional development, their physical development and their communication and language skills. The remaining areas of the curriculum, known as the specific areas, focus on their ability to understand the world around them; their mathematical and problem-solving skills, their creative talents in expressive art and design and finally their enjoyment of literacy, which is developed through their exposure to stories, rhymes, songs and poems.
Our approach to KS1 teaching
KS1 is the time we continue to develop their understanding of the core values as they undertake a change of curriculum. We follow the UK national curriculum in literacy and mathematics as well as using an UK approach to the teaching of phonics. We also follow the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) which is a comprehensive, thematic, creative curriculum with a clear process of learning and with specific learning goals for every subject, for international mindedness and for personal learning.
The IPC has been designed to ensure rigorous learning, but also to help teachers make all learning exciting, active and meaningful. Children learn basic key skills in history, geography, ICT, art, technology and science, which introduce them to all disciplines and help them form the beginning of their own learning journey.
By ensuring children are exposed to a wide range of subjects, we allow them to experience things they may have previously overlooked. This, in turn, may well influence later academic subject choices.
At this stage, our pupils will also start to develop formal methods for recording mathematical calculations. All KS1 children take part in mental mathematics challenges, concrete mathematical experiences and learn to record their findings more formally.
Mathematics activities are designed to be fun, challenging and have a real purpose, with an emphasis on problem solving. Children have opportunities to revisit different areas of mathematics each half term and build on previous knowledge. Basic concepts are cemented at this crucial stage and become the building blocks for all future learning.
Faculty: Instilling the right attitude towards learning
Every child in the Pre-Prep School has a class teacher and teaching assistant. In pre-nursery, due to the age of the children, we have three teaching assistants in the classroom. The class teacher teaches the main parts of the curriculum and leads the pastoral role. The class teachers are supported by other specialist teachers, who take a larger role as the children get older. This allows children to become familiar with a variety of adults, which promotes their independence and adaptability skills.
All our class teachers are trained to the highest standards and are experienced in teaching the English curriculum. Many of our teachers have degrees in Early Years and primary education, which are supplemented by formal teaching qualifications. As with other international kindergartens in Shanghai, the teaching body of our staff reflects the international profile of our pupils, with teachers joining us from Europe, America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. We ensure that our teaching staff embody the values and high expectations of Wellington, while encouraging them to bring their own personality and interests into the classroom, in order to make them effective holistic educators.
Creative learning opportunities and events
Alongside a robust yet flexible curriculum, our younger pupils are also exposed to a wide range of truly engaging opportunities to take learning outside of the classroom. From exciting music and theatre productions, to whole-school events designed to draw the Wellington community together, Pre-Prep pupils are given every chance to take their learning to entirely new and unforgettable places.
Our Pre-Prep pupils always represent an important part of our whole-school events. We believe that it is essential to get children involved in such occasions early on, as this inclusive approach makes them feel rightly valued as individuals and as part of our tightly-knit community. This short roundup of some of the Pre-Prep pupils’ impact on some of our most notable annual events serves to highlight how our school endeavours to give its younger pupils the chance to demonstrate their artistic and academic skills, inline with the very best of international kindergarten education.
- Christmas shows: Our annual Christmas Concerts give the younger pupils the chance to demonstrate their excellent singing voices and choreographed group dances, usually while performing classic Christmas carols and festive songs.
- Chinese New Year: Pre-Prep pupils joined the entire College in celebrating Chinese New Year, performing their very own traditional songs and dances, complete with gorgeously vibrant and colourful costumes and artwork.
- Science Week: Intellectual curiosity starts at an early age in Wellington, as the last two Science Week events have both witnessed our Pre-Prep pupils eagerly and attentively watching experiments being performed, before diving in themselves to get a hands-on scientific experience.
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Instilling admirable values from an early age
Alongside the development of academic skills and capabilities, another facet of Wellington’s holistic education approach is to instil in every pupil a set of values that will positively shape their character and help them become the very best versions of themselves. The Wellington College Values are those of courage, integrity, kindness, respect and responsibility, and the process of instilling and developing these values begins the moment our pupils join us, from the Early Years right up until they complete year 13.
As well as including Pre-Prep pupils in school-wide events, we are always thinking of new and exciting ways to develop these admirable character traits. One recent success story in this regard is our class teddy bear initiative, with each Pre-Prep class naming, dressing and accessorising their bear before taking them on adventures far beyond the classroom. By giving each pupil the chance to look after the bear, we are reinforcing their sense of kindness, respect and responsibility. Similarly, our Pre-Prep teachers are actively involved in instilling a sense of good manners and politeness in their pupils, in order to further strengthen the Wellington Values that we hold in extremely high regard.
Parental support: Involving the parents at every stage
Finally, our approach to Pre-Prep education includes developing a triangular pupil-parent-teacher relationship that is stronger than you are likely to find in any other international kindergarten in Shanghai. We believe that parents must continue to be an active part of their children’s education during their formative school years, since what they learn in school should be reinforced at home, and vice versa.
To that end, as well as regular parental conferences and meetings to discuss progress and avoid any potential difficulties or conflicts, we are continually trialling new methods of encouraging positive parental involvement in Pre-Prep education. One of our most recent and successful initiatives is the “Parent Reader” training programme.
The idea was born out of our parents’ evident willingness to support their children with reading activities during school time. In order to encourage and harness that willingness, we started a training session with the aim of showing parents some of the basic expectations of phonics, sight words and general reading skills that their children were in the process of learning. Parents were taught to recognise some of the most valuable reading milestones and to praise their children whenever they attained them, in order to identify and reinforce the importance of their breakthrough. In a very short space of time, what began as a parental support for reading session quickly evolved into something much more ambitious and involved, with pupils’ additional language, writing and oral-based skills being addressed and explored at home by parents eager to help their children develop in any way they could.
Continually developing our approach to Pre-Prep education
While we are rightly proud of the evident success of our approach to giving young pupils the best possible start to their formal education, we apply the same expectations to our teaching staff as we do to our pupils. Therefore, utilising the same standards of intellectual curiosity and inspiration that we aim to instil in our pupils, we are continually seeking to deliver better, more relevant and more engaging methods of holistically educating the children in our care. It is this driving aspiration to constantly improve that has allowed Wellington to develop one of the best international kindergarten educations in Shanghai.