|Organization||Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation (Thousand Trees Project)|
|Region||Hubei, Gansu, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guizhou and Qinghai Province|
With the implementation of the Three-year Action Plan for National Pre-school Education, the enrolment rate in rural areas for pre-school education has increased substantially, followed by some improvement in class scale, facility and environment of rural kindergartens as well as the professional ability of the teachers. However, it also leads to the differentiation of development levels among rural kindergartens. Those in the middle and upper level start to promote free play within the kindergartens, even though it is still in the initial exploring phase, lacking support for teaching skills development, while those in the lower level still apply the primary school teaching methods, failing to provide effective support for child development.
The project is aimed at gradually improving the professional levels of rural kindergarten teachers so as to promote comprehensive development for rural children through providing educational resources, teacher trainings and on-site guiding for rural kindergartens.
Founded in 2011, the Thousand Tree Project has been developing a series of hands-on courses centred on child language development, suitable for the class-scale and group learning settings in rural kindergartens. Tong Chai has been supporting the Thousand Tree Project to provide reading, music and maths courses for 33 rural kindergartens in Shiyan, Hubei Province. The project succeeded in changing the primary school teaching method that focused on literacy and arithmetic as well as teachers’ attitude towards children.
In 2014, the Association continued to support the Hubei Project to expand to more than 60 kindergartens and explore a three-tiered training and monitoring model in collaboration with local education bureau. It not only improved the local pre-school education quality, but also built a teaching and research system for local pre-school professionals. Moreover, the Association also supported the project to develop courses for mixed-age classes. In 2015, the project further expanded to Hubei, Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan Province. The Association continues to fund the Thousand Trees Project for its strategic development in the team’s ability cultivation and course update.
Since 2016, the Association also supported the research of their online training courses and building of an interactive online learning community for the teachers so as to reduce the quality degradation of multi-tiered trainings. So far, the project has developed 66 online courses in music, maths, play and reading, with total views of more than 160,000.
Moreover, to meet the new needs of some rural kindergartens with faster development, the Association started to support Leping’s upgrading of their original courses in 2018, focusing on developing integrated reading activities and guidance on area activities, improving training mechanism for better learning experience and effects, and setting up “Teacher’s Development Camps” to support the growth of potential teachers. In 2019, the team will align with domestic and foreign experts to launch a new program about STEAM education research and teacher training in rural kindergartens. As of 2018, the Thousand Trees Project has been collaborating with 33 counties covering 6 provinces, largely promoting the teaching professional development and education quality improvement for 2091 rural kindergartens.