Educare West DuPage Participates in International Exchange with Erikson Institute

In 2015, our partners at Educare West DuPage partnered with the Erikson International Initiative to host a group of early childhood education professionals from China. The goal of this partnership was to demonstrate what makes a high-quality program in the United States through the work happening at Educare West DuPage. Educare West DuPage staff were able to talk to the visitors about Educare and share strategies around Family Engagement, high-quality teaching, and embedded professional development in a dual language school. Staff were pleased with the opportunity to participate and learned that their Chinese peers share the same goals with regards to the children in their programs as they do. The exchange went so well that Erikson selected Educare West DuPage to host visitors again the following year.

This past August, Erikson contacted West DuPage yet again, but this time it was with an opportunity for staff to participate in a different type of exchange. Erikson wanted to bring them along to China with other host schools in the program both as a thank you for their great work as a host site, and to give them the experience of participating in the exchange from the other side.

Educare West DuPage School Director Marcela Sweeney and Assistant School Director Monique Lopez joined staff from the Chicago Children’s Museum, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Catherine Cook School, and many more on a two week trip to China. The group visited seven preschool sites and four museums across Beijing, Shanghai, Anji and Hangzhou.

At each site, the group did a short presentation on Educare and how it embodies high-quality early childhood education in the United States. In addition to touring local sites, the group also attended a conference on preschool education quality. Marcela Sweeney was a presenter on a panel with professors from East China Normal University. The goal of the panel was to present how counterparts from both the United States and China would answer the same kinds of questions around Family Engagement and what that looks like in each country.

Staff were able to learn different types of curriculum implemented in China and how we might be able to adapt parts of them into our own teaching practices. When asked if Educare West DuPage would host the exchange again, they enthusiastically responded that they would indeed participate if asked. This was an amazing experience for staff to reflect on how no matter where you are in the world, we all want the best for the children and families in our programs.

Learn More about the International Initiative.