Arts Education and the Sun Future Foundation

credit: Sun Future Foundation

As a former school director and education researcher I often think about what we need to teach our children. To me, the 4 C’s that are Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity are essential skills to equip our children with for today’s and even tomorrow’s world too. But we need to go even further than that by teaching our children a fifth C: Compassion.

This point culminated during my recent visit to China to an art education project in a school for migrant workers’ children in one of Beijing’s outer rings, Beijing Shijingshan Cement Factory Elementary School, through a program called “Enlightenment of Love.” The project received support from Sun Future Art Education Foundation which bases itself on the belief that “Art Education Makes Good People,” and aims to help children grow both heart and mind. I was impressed by the teachers’ focus on exploration and innovation through aesthetics and photography, particularly as a way to build identity and encourage love and compassion among their students who predominantly came from disadvantaged families.

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The Multilingual Education Fair of Washington, DC

Over 1200 people participated in the Multilingual Education Fair of Washington, DC last Saturday at Gallaudet University. The event attracted families, educators, students, employers, job-seekers, and language enthusiasts looking to impact their lives through language and culture. Over 100 exhibitors across 17 languages were present and filled the air with excitement and multilingual buzzing.

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Book Launch of Die bilinguale revolution at the Goethe Institute

Early January, I launched the German version of The Bilingual Revolution, Die bilinguale revolution, Zweisprachigkeit und die Zukunft der Bildung, at the Goethe-Institut in New York. As most of parents in New York were registering their children to the Kindergarten classes, it was the occasion to speak about the German Dual Language Program at P.S. 18 Edward Bush located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The net proceeds from the evening were donated to the school’s emerging dual-language program.

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China Global Philanthropy Institute in Beijing

During my visit to Beijing for Philanthropy in Childhood Education in China: Trends and Perspectives conference, I was thrilled to learn more about China Global Philanthropy Institute (CGPI), a think-tank established three years ago to provide information on China’s rapidly expanding philanthropic sector and training programs for foundation executives as well knowledge exchange, reporting and monitoring on the sector which currently totals 7,000 foundations.

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Laoniu Children’s Discovery Museum in Beijing

During my trip to China I was offered the opportunity to visit Beijing’s Children Discovery Museum, a 0-to-7-year-old early childhood education project jointly developed by Lao Niu Brother & Sister Foundation together with China National Children’s Center, China Philanthropy Research Institute, and Beijing Normal University. By creating this museum in Beijing, and a similar one in Inner Mongolia, Lao Niu Foundation sought to introduce innovative and interactive exploration to Chinese children, through advanced design concepts and practice models commonly found in children’s museums in the United States and Europe, while combining Chinese traditional culture in the model. Since opening on June 1, 2005, Lao Niu Children’s Discover Museum is the first large-scale children’s museum in Beijing.

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Innovation and Childhood Education in China

China is becoming an increasingly important stakeholder in philanthropy in education. As a follow-up to several talks I gave on philanthropy in education I was invited to take part in Philanthropy in Childhood Education in China: Trends and Perspectives, a conference organized by the China Global Philanthropy Institute in collaboration with NORRAG (Network for international policies and cooperation in education and training) and 21st Century Education Research Institute, with sponsorship from the Lao Niu Brother & Sister Foundation.

This event targeted foundations, non-profit educational organizations, academia, business, social enterprises, media and government to discuss the theme of education equity and innovation in childhood education in China. It brought together around 170 participants, and high-level speakers presenting a combination of domestic and international experiences and case studies.

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New York City’s Arabic Dual-Language Program Is Thriving

P.S./I.S. 30 Mary White Ovington School in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn hosts New York City’s only Arabic dual-language program. From pre-K to 5th grade, and soon 8th grade, it is always a joy to see the children flourish in two languages. After several months of extensive collaboration and planning, the Arabic dual-language program at P.S./I.S.30 opened its doors in September 2013. The dual-language curriculum was designed as a split day, where morning classes are taught in Arabic and afternoon classes in English, or vice versa.

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