Co-founded by Leping and Little Oak Kindergarten in October, 2011, Thousand Trees is a social enterprise?that attracts social resources, provides?quality preschool education?for children from middle-to-low income families?in a social innovative way to?promote?educationequality.
Tong Chai?has started?to?fund projects?developed and implemented by?Thousand Trees since 2013. At that time,?the real situation in China’s rural kindergartens located in county seats and below the level of county was:(1) the shortage of kindergarten teachers. Most teachers in kindergartens were the ones that were transferred from elementary schools to kindergartens to teach; (2) large class size,and (3) the elementary school-oriented teaching was widespread in kindergartens, which is contrary to the law of child development. With these real problems in mind,Thousand Trees gradually developed?a series of highly operable, low-cost but quality-guaranteed?kindergarten activity guidebooks?for teachers?in use?and?provided?training for?local kindergartens.?From 2013 to 2015, Thousand Trees, based on a set of its kindergarten activities,?developed a?three-level training system thatfunctioned as:(1) at level one, the project?core?trainers train?the?county-level teachingresearchers and trainers; (2) at level two, the?county-level teaching?researchers and trainers train?the core?kindergarten teachers, and?(3) at level three,?the core kindergarten teacherstrain their?fellow teachers?to conduct school-based teaching research.?Thousand Trees?has helped?improve?many project kindergartens’ teaching modules and child development conditions,?and support the growth of a batch of county-level?preschool education?teachersby working closely with local education?bureaus.?By the end of 2014, Thousand Trees has served over 140 kindergartens?with?26,781 children?benefited from its work.
When year2015?came, the?number?of local-level?kindergartens?has increased sharply, because Chinese government has paid much?attention?to the preschool education and invested more in this regard for years, But?the kindergarten teacher preparation programs could not catch up with the demand?of?preschool education, while?more?and more?childrenin kindergartens?are in?a urgent?need of quality?preschool education.?Faced with?this enormous need, Thousand Trees?has planned to scale up and provide?quality preschool education?for?1.2 million children?in?7.000 rural kindergartens?in the coming three?years. Also in 2015, Thousand Trees?has?served the number of children,teachers and kindergartens several times more?than?that in?2014, reaching 1,300 kindergartens, 6,000 teachers and 110,000 children.?This is?both?a?rare opportunity?and?a huge challenge for Thousand Trees. One the one hand,?Thousand Trees?tries to work out a new module, in which it provides its technique?and experience?for professional teams at provincial-leveluniversities?that hold a close working relationship with?Thousand Trees, and then these teams provide the level one training instead; on?the other hand,Thousand Trees?alsoconsiders?how to use the internet to promote project efficiency and impact,?and?how to help teachers,who have received content-centered training,?develop more steadily and?in an all-round way. With all these efforts made, in the end,?children?in kindergartens?can acquire?an appropriate?and sustainable education.?From?2015,?Tong Chai has?provided?strategical funding for Thousand Trees,?in the hopes that?Thousand Trees?makes innovations in itsprojects and?mechanism.