Age Integration is a hit

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Chinese students are inspired by Danish pedagogy and complement their Chinese preschool teacher training with a Danish one. Age integration in the Danish daycare system is an eye opener for the Chinese.

In China, children only go to kindergarten and school with children their own age. So age-integrated pedagogy is a new phenomenon for the Chinese students who are currently finishing their Chinese preschool teacher education at The Social Education in Aarhus, VIA University College. 

"One of the students told me that she only knows people her own age. She has no siblings or cousins. She never went to class or mixed with groups other than those of her own age. So both the students and the professors are very aware of the obvious values reflected in a Danish integrated institution," says Kirsten Due Kjeldsen, Head of International Relations at the Social Education in Aarhus, VIA the University College. 

The older children help the younger ones

Zhen Wang, one of seven students who graduated with a Double Degree in June, is excited about the age-integrated pedagogy. 

"Initially, I was very confused about so many different ages in one place. I wondered how I could work with the educational differences. I have never experienced this in China. I was somewhat sceptical. But soon I found out how the big kids help the little ones," says Zhen Wang. 

She has discovered that in the age-integrated pedagogy the smaller children are given good role models to follow by the bigger ones. At the same time the eldest children learn to cooperate. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement. She is looking forward to trying it out when she returns to China to work in a Chinese kindergarten. 

Translated by James Doherty, Cambridge