Dear Teller of Important Stories:

I am writing to bring to your attention changes in public early childhood education policy in China, and, in particular, changes that have unfolded in Anji County, Zhejiang Province over the last twenty years, under the leadership of educator Ms. Cheng Xueqin. As Sherry Cleary, Dean of Early Childhood Education Initiatives at the City University of New York notes, “to call [Cheng’s] work innovative seems small. She has taken her understanding of the nature and needs of young children and created a philosophy and practice that is both unique and extremely powerful.”

In the late…

The True Play Foundation makes no general recommendation regarding the safety of reopening early childhood education programs at this time.

Because the spread of COVID-19 varies greatly between localities, regions and nations, and because each community differs in terms of its density, habits and access to resources, there can be no one-size-fits-all guidance for the reopening of early childhood programs.

Further, because of the high degree of uncertainty about the virus, its effects on children, its ability to survive in the air and on surfaces, the unreliability of antibody testing, and many other factors, we urge all responsible authorities to…

“[The Italian Prime Minister] said that schools and universities would remain closed as a result until at least April 3. Decrees banned jail visits and day-release programs for inmates, setting off riots across the country at 27 prisons. Guards were held hostage, and several inmates died in Modena.”

-The New York Times, March 9, 2020

The world continues to exist in crisis. While COVID-19 is dramatic in its scale and scope, so too are racism, poverty, environmental degradation, greed and violence. …

Anji Play Province-wide Scaling: First Detailed Progress Update

Over the last week, principals and teachers from across Zhejiang Province traveled to Anji for the first conference and training focused on their progress towards an ambitious government initiative to scale Anji Play to all public kindergartens in Zhejiang. The teachers and principals represented over fifty schools that are currently implementing the Anji Play Approach, including schools in major metropolises like Hangzhou, Ningbo and Wenzhou.*

Province-wide scaling of the Anji Play Approach is currently underway with initial implementation at 103 Anji Play Practice Kindergartens in every county in Zhejiang Province. …

Chen Weijun, Party Secretary for Huzhou Municipality, visits a kindergarten in Anji after announcing that 80,000 children ages 3–6 of Huzhou will soon have access to the Anji Play approach as the full-time curriculum of all of Huzhou’s public kindergarten programs.

In the summer of 2017, Ms. Cheng Xueqin, founder of Anji Play and Director of the Office of Pre-Primary Education, Anji County Department of Education, traveled to Beijing with the Director of the Anji County Department of Education to present her experience creating the Anji Play educational ecology at a meeting of the World Bank. Below is the translated text of the white paper presented to the World Bank.

This document is relevant to educational administrators and policy makers worldwide who are faced with the challenge of changing the status quo, marshaling support for early education and making true, lasting…

Important Author’s Note: this article speaks of my personal experience and personal views. While my observations and claims are not cited with reference to evidence-based, peer-reviewed research, they may very well be supported in relevant literature.

There is growing, legitimate concern about the role of smartphones, screens and TV content in the lives of our toddlers. Few of us parents feel totally at ease, and some of us feel downright distressed, when we see our active, curious children sucked into the passive consumption of televisual, pad-presented or otherwise screen-communicated content, content putatively “created for kids.”

But screens are inescapable, and…

Originally Published in China Education Daily, 26 October 2016, Section A1 Staff Reporter: Chang Jing

This is One City Early Learning Centers in Madison, Wisconsin. Four year old Max builds with unflagging enjoyment with simple wood blocks, alternating between horizontal and vertical, building higher and higher. He adds two wheels on top, a cross-beam spanning front and back, and then erects a long wooden plank in front. After thirty minutes an American tank takes vivid form.

In that moment, the joy of success is manifest on Max’s face. …

If you have had a chance to join one of our webinars, see Ms. Cheng Xueqin speak in person or have visited Anji County, China, then you have met me. I am also honored that so many of you have taken the time to read my piece here on Medium about my experience and understanding of the innovative approach to learning and development known as Anji Play.

I was lucky to begin working with Ms. Cheng (the brilliant educator behind Anji Play) and Dr. Chelsea Bailey nearly three years ago to share the Anji Play approach with educators, families…

I have been a dad for about a year now. I change diapers, scrape spinach off the walls, wash and dry onesies. My wife and I share the work of parenting, and I consider myself lucky to play such a big role in our daughter’s life. I am also the only parent outside of a rural county in China to view his child’s growth and development through the eyes of revolutionary educator Cheng Xueqin.

Disclosure: I have spent much of the last 15 years traveling between the United States and China and over the last year and a half I…

Jesse Coffino

CEO, Anji Education, Inc. and Chair, True Play Foundation. East Bay California based educator, author, translator and interpreter of Chinese, and dad.

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