Open Classes in Chinese Kindergartens

Plus 12 free lesson plans

The words ‘Open Class’ will likely stab fear into the heart of new teachers. They serve as bridges connecting educators, students, and parents but their use in Chinese schools often comes as a surprise and can sometimes be a source of anxiety for new teachers unused to the attention.

Join us on a journey into Chinese open classes where education is not only showcased but also shared – and gain some pointers on how I learned to better handle them.

– Richard Edwell, Teach TEFL in China, 13 November 2023

Understanding Open Classes

Open classes, as the name suggests, involve opening up the classroom environment to parents, guardians, and sometimes even the wider community. This practice allows observers to witness firsthand the teaching methods, curriculum, and activities that unfold within the classroom. While open classes are implemented across various educational levels, they hold particular significance in the context of Chinese kindergartens.

Transparency in Early Education

In China, the tradition of open classes aligns with the broader cultural value placed on education and family involvement. Open classes serve as a bridge between educators and parents, fostering a transparent and collaborative relationship. Parents gain insights into the daily experiences of their children, witnessing not only academic lessons but also the development of crucial social and emotional skills.

The Kindergarten Experience in China

In Chinese kindergartens, open classes go beyond showcasing academic achievements. They often include a diverse array of activities designed to nurture creativity, curiosity, and interpersonal skills in young learners. From music and dance performances to interactive storytelling and hands-on projects, open classes provide a holistic view of the kindergarten experience.

Benefits for Parents and Educators

  1. Insight into Teaching Approaches: Open classes allow parents to understand the teaching methods employed by educators. This transparency enables them to support their children’s learning journey at home effectively.

  2. Building Trust: The openness of classrooms cultivates trust between parents and teachers. When parents witness the dedication and creativity of educators, a sense of confidence and trust in the educational institution naturally follows.

  3. Partnership in Learning: Open classes transform parents from passive observers to active participants in their child’s education. This partnership enhances the overall learning experience and contributes to a more supportive educational ecosystem.

Challenges and Solutions

While the benefits of open classes are evident, challenges also exist. Some educators may feel pressure to perform, and there might be concerns about disruption to the learning environment. To address these challenges, many kindergartens in China have developed structured formats for open classes, ensuring they align with the curriculum while providing valuable insights for parents.

Looking Ahead: Future Implications

The concept of open classes in Chinese kindergartens not only enhances parent-teacher relationships but also sets the stage for future educational practices. As technology continues to play a significant role in education, virtual open classes and interactive online platforms may become integral components, allowing parents to participate in their child’s education remotely.

In Conclusion

Open classes in Chinese kindergartens embody a commitment to openness, collaboration, and holistic learning. As the concept continues to evolve, it holds the promise of transforming not only how parents engage with their child’s education but also how educators shape the early learning environment.

For any teachers dreading an upcoming open class, it might help to remember 5 golden rules for the best outcomes:

1. Keep it simple. Don't overreach with overly-ambitious lesson content, because if that falls flat so will your class.

2. Be familiar with your content. Know a few different songs or games that you have used before.

3. Present interactively in various ways - in short, don't just use flashcard games.

4. Have your class show the audience what they learned at the end with simple, fun Q&A.

5. Be reflective. Remember what didn't work and adapt or omit it for next time.

Got an open class coming up? We've put together 12 free kindergarten open class lesson plan Word templates for you to use in a pinch!

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