img-20161103-wa0001Asian Preschool Education Annual Conference in China

I was invited to talk at the Early Years conference ‘Asian Preschool Education Annual Conference’ out in China; the invite came due to the interest in working with me on a consultancy basis, to meet for discussions. I was asked if I would do a talk – ‘of course!’ My thought was that it would be similar to ‘talks’ done before to investors and parents. So, I was a bit shocked to discover it would be to hundreds!

My focus was on how important early years is to developing the brain and later life choices, links between bonding and relationships to adult mental health, and the responsibility we as educators have to ‘get it right’. Through remembering a memory from childhood, I demonstrated the impact an early experience has on adult life; without that I thought, then the rest may not be taken seriously.

The Chinese education system is based upon teaching via detailed lesson plans and direct instruction, not through play. So with the help of some photos and videos of activities and games in my nurseries, I demonstrated impact. Using the same game that I had seen Penny Tassoni use at a conference (adults naming objects from a bag, in comparison to the processing time children need to do the same) plus some of my own, I showed examples of how children learn and also good practice. I then went on to explain the principles and framework of the EYFS.

Although where necessary the hall took part in my activities, I didn’t feel there was a great deal of interest. Once over however, WOW, I was swamped – for photos with the delegates, contact details and one person even asked for my autograph!

My aim as I explained at the beginning, was that each delegate would take one idea back to work… by the reaction (very strange for a westerner) I hope that was realised.