The first model kindergarten of HEI Schools opened the doors in the city of Baotou, North China.
HEI Schools and the City of Baotou have been working in close co-operation since early 2017 to bring the first ever full scale Finnish kindergarten concept to China. The interest for international education, especially for early childhood years, is growing fast in China. Baotou, having a progressive city planning and education bureau, saw potential in HEI Schools concept, and bringing an international alternative to the market.
City of Baotou had been following the success story of Finnish school system and got interested in HEI Schools as it offers a very high-quality model to operate.
“The project has been an extremely intensive effort for both parties. We have been working together with talented pedagogical and design professionals to make this all come true in very tight schedule and it feels amazing now to see the children, families, and teachers enjoying the beautiful school and making it a real learning and growing environment. University of Helsinki has had a profound input to the concept and project through its excellence in early education research and teacher training”, Milla Kokko, CEO, HEI Schools.
Project also included full scale design and renovation work for all learning spaces inside and outside of the building. Building of 4500 m2 underwent a total makeover during the summer of 2017.
“We are happy to see that we can have a piece of Finland here in Baotou. The kindergarten spaces are so inspiring for both children and teachers. In a unique way, it combines the space and the pedagogy, while all the details are designed to support the child’s development.” Mrs. Hu, Chinese principal in HEI Schools Baotou. Design was produced together with Finnish architect agencies Collaboratorio and MER Arkkitehdit alongside with furniture designer Milla Vaahtera.
HEI Baotou kindergarten opens with a highly motivated Finnish-Chinese teacher team. “Our team has been working together since May, when ten of our Chinese teacher colleagues came to Finland for a five week teacher training period, including 2 weeks interning in Finnish kindergartens. We have a talented team and we all are excited to welcome the children and their families to our new HEI Kindergarten.” Sirpa Lassila, Finnish Principal in HEI Schools Baotou. Finnish kindergarten teachers will stay in Baotou until Jan 2019.
HEI Schools Baotou:
Children: 3-6 years old, maximum 300 students
Teachers: Finnish and Chinese Principals, 9 Chinese Kindergarten Teachers, 4 Finnish Kindergarten Teachers
Families: Middle class / upper middle class families interested in international education. Paying tuition fee.
Language: Chinese and English. English as a working language for all teachers and as “language shower” for children
Building: 4500m2 indoor space + large outdoor facilities. Gone through a total renovation process during summer, 2017
Operator: Private Kindergarten operator, 100% owned by the City of Baotou
Concept and license provider: Helsinki International Schools Group (HEI Schools)