A group of 25 Chinese kindergarten leaders and teachers are currently in Denmark to learn about Danish pedagogy. As a bonus, they will get to go for a run with the country’s Crown Prince Frederik on Monday.
Since the autumn of 2017, groups of pedagogues from all over China have taken part in workshops, ranging in length from one to several weeks, in the Nordic country. The third group is there right now on a two-week stay, which will last until May 26.
Apart from attending their pedagogy course, the current group will also get a chance to celebrate Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark's 50th birthday and go on a 1.6 km run through fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen’s hometown of Odense with the royal birthday boy himself on May 21.
The day after, an event celebrating the Chinese education project in Denmark, named H.C. Andersen International Kindergarten College, will take place at Nordfyns Folk High School.
Among the guests will be Countess Alexandra of Frederiksborg, who came to the country from Hong Kong to marry a Danish prince in 1995, Chinese education icon Li Zhenxi, who will write about the Hans Christian Andersen education concept in his forthcoming book, and Professor Yang Dongping, who is a member of China’s National Advisory Education Committee and leads the 21st Century Education Research Institute, a leading Chinese think tank.
The Danish pedagogy programme has caught China's attention mainly because free play, or play in general, is not a matter of course in the Chinese day care system, as it is in Denmark.
“Children play everywhere; inside, outside, all day long, and the kids are strong and healthy. You don’t hear pedagogues say, ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’. Danish kids have the freedom to be kids, physically and mentally,” says Dong Ruixiang, initiator of the H.C. Andersen International Kindergarten College.
He has a strong wish to give Chinese children the same opportunity to just be kids and has a vision of opening 1000 kindergartens in China based on Danish pedagogy and Andersen’s values.
Participating in the Royal Run event in Denmark makes good sense for Dong, who, just like the Danish crown prince, is a keen sportsman.
At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Dong had the honour of running with the Olympic flame, as did the well-known Chinese philanthropist Niu Gensheng, whose Lao Niu Foundation funds the H.C. Andersen International Kindergarten College in Denmark.