Big audience for ECE symposium streamed live from China

Aotearoa New Zealand’s approach to early childhood education is drawing attention across China and around the world.

The New Zealand-China Early Childhood Education Symposium streamed live from Qingdao in Shandong Province in September, attracting an audience of around 24,000 viewers on a Chinese language streaming service, 170 at the venue and dozens more online from Norway, Mexico and Turkey.

The audience for the symposium, organised by Education New Zealand, has grown 20-fold since the first event in 2020, proving the appeal of events streamed in several languages.

The theme of this year’s symposium was the best practice for developing high-quality early childhood education (ECE) teachers.

Data from 2020 show there were over 48 million children enrolled in Chinese kindergartens and a shortage of nearly 300,000 full-time ECE teachers.

Delegates heard from New Zealand experts at the Ministry of Education, the University of Auckland, the Open Polytechnic, AUT, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand and Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

Toi Ohomai presenter Dr Rosemary Richards spoke from New Zealand on how to interact with children on visual art. She welcomes chances like these to share her work with a large and diverse audience.

“In this increasingly globalised world of education, it is important for educators to find ways to have meaningful connections that extend our intercultural and professional understandings,” Dr Richards says.

“The online symposium and live streaming also allowed for connections with wider communities and audiences that are not possible in traditional formats. Perhaps our future holds more potential for a combination of both.”

ENZ worked with the China Ministry of Education and the China Centre for International People-to-People Exchange to organise the symposium.

Local organisers included the Qingdao Municipal Education Bureau, the China National Society of Early Childhood Education, the Qingdao Preschool Education College and the Shanghai Institute of Early Childhood Education under Shanghai Normal University.

New Zealand and China collaborate on early childhood education under the mechanism of the Joint Working Group on Education and Training, last held in February 2021.

Want to know more about the symposium or upcoming ENZ initiatives in China? Contact

The University of Auckland’s Dr Marek Tesar and Dr Kiri Gould gave a keynote presentation on the pathway to becoming an ECE teacher. Audience members could scan the QR code on the screen to connect on WeChat.

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