As we head into summer, I have a lot to think about. I recently went to China with a delegation of early childhood researchers, practitioners, and funders. It was an incredibly inspiring trip that gave us the chance to step back from our day-to-day to learn from the work happening in China, and to strategize about our collective work for children here at home.
In rural China where the government is facing the challenge of parental migration to cities, with children left behind to live with relatives and neighbors, we visited a few of the more than 13,800 preschools they have built since 2011 and observed the massive effort to train teachers. We also got to participate in a conference at a university dedicated solely to training preschool teachers – yes, you heard me right.
In Beijing, we visited the Home of Children’s Heart Preschool where every one of us was blown away by the rich and joyful learning environment and intentionality of the teachers. To round out the trip, we had the opportunity to be part of a conference on early childhood STEAM education and technology hosted by the Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation and Macao Tong Chai Charity Association.
We returned home thinking about their willingness to take on big challenges and offer up big solutions. We also left with an important reminder to always think about scale and how to move from small pockets of success to widespread impact. But you don’t need to go to China to grapple with these issues. More and more, these kinds of conversations are happening here in our own backyard. The timing couldn’t be better as we elect a new governor in California and fill other important posts across the country.