Our network of schools is constantly growing and innovating, and in 2024 we will open our first campus dedicated exclusively to Early Childhood Education: BASIS Bilingual Kindergarten Nanshan. Founding Head of School Tara McKenna shares about her background in education and in China, as well as the vision for this new learning community below.
From the United Kingdom to China
China was only meant to be short-term; it’s been nearly two decades. Coming from the UK and working in many countries worldwide, working in China has always been exciting and fast-paced, and provides adventure and challenges. Chinese culture deeply respects education, parents hold the teaching profession in high regard, and strong values exist–making it a very attractive and pleasant place to teach.
Over the course of two and a half decades of experience in leadership roles, my proficiency working in China and raising my third-culture bilingual children here have helped me understand and appreciate what families here need and expect in China and abroad. China has become my home, and those considering teaching here will find it an enriching experience.
I have a deep desire to learn and I always appreciate young students’ natural curiosity, excitement, and wonder. I believe it is the teacher’s task to keep this curiosity of children alive to ensure each student fosters a lifelong love of learning. The goal is to build a team of like-minded educators who want to empower and challenge students to be active learners from a young age.
BASIS Bilingual Kindergarten Nanshan
BASIS Bilingual Kindergarten Nanshan, the first campus in the BASIS International & Bilingual Schools network dedicated to the early years, is set to open in 2024. Located in the former BASIS International School Shenzhen building in the Shekou neighborhood of Shenzhen, this campus has undergone extensive renovations to transform the space into a modern state-of-the-art early years center. The BASIS Bilingual Kindergarten Nanshan building has been purposefully designed with young learners in mind and engaging facilities that provide a purposeful and intentional academic learning environment conducive to growth.
This exciting new campus is dedicated to giving each student the best start in life, and by bringing together the best team of inspiring early years educators, we are committed to delivering high-quality early education in a nurturing and stimulating environment where children can reach their full potential.
The new campus is an opportunity for teachers who are committed to high standards, excellent classroom practice and innovative approaches to learning to become part of the founding faculty of a new educational community driven by working as a team to plan, observe and curate a progressive learning experience for our students.
Preschool is the foundation of formal education, and with our carefully designed curriculum we will create a learning community of educators who are motivated to challenge students with modern best practices. Children are capable and active learners, and our teachers will encourage them to explore, ask questions, and learn from and about the world around them through developmentally appropriate guided play and inquiry experiences.
Building Our Learning Community
Early years education should be progressive and provide a rigorous program and environment that celebrates students and recognizes their strengths and abilities. Therefore, I am responsible for supporting teachers and recruiting those with an innate passion and talent for teaching that can positively impact students’ lives in Early Childhood Education. Teachers should share their joy in their students’ learning and be dedicated to curating an environment where students are positively challenged to thrive.
My experiences have taught me the importance of being flexible, empathetic, and authentic. With first-hand personal and professional experience of international and bilingual education in China, I understand the realities of education in the 21st century in China and beyond, and I am driven to ensure students get the education they need and deserve that will prepare them for the requirements of their future educational pathway.
As a school leader, it is essential to create an environment where a sense of belonging is a priority–for students as well as faculty and staff. Children should feel safe to learn, and teachers should be able to teach in an environment where they can feel safe and happy. I genuinely care for those around me, and as a leader, I am motivated and inspired to reach above and beyond to support my team.
If you are an experienced and passionate early childhood educator, I encourage you to explore opportunities at BASIS Bilingual Kindergarten Nanshan and be part of building an innovative learning community for our youngest students.
Founding Head of School
BASIS Bilingual Kindergarten Nanshan
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