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Since 2008, students enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program have had the opportunity to complete one-month study abroad internships at Regent International Preschool in Suzhou, China. We are thrilled to announce that after a three-year hiatus due to Covid, the China Study Abroad project is back!

The experience of learning and working at Regent International Preschool is invaluable to the Early Childhood Education students at George Brown College. These internships provide students with the chance to learn from and collaborate with other experts in early childhood education and family support, preparing them for the global community.

In addition to professional development, students also get to experience the rich culture and history of China through various trips and sightseeing activities organized by the school. The China Study Abroad project offers students a unique opportunity to travel internationally with the support of their peers and faculty from George Brown College.

The China Study Abroad 2024 program is scheduled for May-June, and six students from the School of Early Childhood Education have joined the project. Stay tuned to follow their reflections on this incredible opportunity.

The students have now returned from China. Read their China 2024 testimonials!


Dorota Gill & Raizell Slobodsky, May 23, 2024

The GBC ECE China 2024 Team has arrived in Suzhou! After a long flight via Hong Kong and a two-day stay in Shanghai to explore the city, we have now reached Suzhou, where our affiliated lab school, Suzhou Regent International Preschool, is located.

The 2024 Team consists of five students: Nicole Jung, Ellie Taylor, Jodene Jones, Michelle Ebifegha, and Jie Sheng, supported by Raizell Slobodsky and Dorota Gill.

Since landing in Shanghai, the GBC team has been receiving ongoing support from the amazing Suzhou Regent International Preschool Team. Their friendliness, generosity, and understanding are unmatched!

The students have been at the school for four days and are adjusting well, receiving a tremendous amount of support from their cooperating teachers. The team is cooperating and collaborating well, and after making their initial observations, they are preparing to make significant curriculum contributions.

In just four days at the school, we have learned a lot and had the opportunity to visit a public kindergarten that also follows a play-based curriculum. Words would fail to describe the amazing spaces that we have visited so far, so we will let the pictures speak for themselves!

We hope you enjoy the students' weekly entries, and if you are a student reading them, consider applying in the future for this amazing China Study Abroad Experience offered annually for GBC ECE students.

Kudos to our current students! A big thank you to the GBC for creating this opportunity, and another huge thank you to Ms. Kelly Chen, the school principal, and her team for hosting us! They are truly an amazing team!

Dorota Gill and Raizell Slobodsky

Ellie Taylor, May 23, 2024

We are here!!! The ECE Team arrived in Shanghai on Friday, May 17. After leaving the airport, we were welcomed onto a shuttle bus arranged to take us to our hotel in Central Shanghai. During the journey, I got my first glimpse of how large Shanghai is and its extraordinary population numbers. I was amazed by the hundreds of apartments that towered over us and found myself imagining all the families that lived behind the sea of tiny windows.

After settling into our hotel, we went to a nearby mall to get some food. I was pleasantly surprised to find a variety of small, intimate restaurants with fresh produce on display, ready to be cooked to order, instead of the fast food I was expecting. I enjoyed my first meal at a ramen restaurant, where the noodles were made from scratch and hand-pulled right in front of us. The entire meal cost only $4 CAD, providing a delicious yet affordable culinary experience.

While I hold these simple, small experiences close to my heart as a true representation of life and culture in China, I couldn't contain my emotions when visiting the Bund. Seeing the lit-up skyline sparked something within me. The visit to the Bund was more than just sightseeing; it was a moment of reflection and gratitude. I never imagined an opportunity like this would be presented to me, leading me to wonder what other opportunities might arise next. I am eagerly awaiting the next chapter of this journey, which involves meeting the children and staff at the Suzhou Regent International Preschool and starting my placement.

Ellie Taylor C118 year 1 student

Sindy (Jie) Sheng, May 23, 2024

Hello everyone, my name is Sindy (Jie) Sheng, and I am a fourth-year student in the Early Childhood Education program at George Brown College. I am excited to introduce you to the only overseas GBC lab school, Suzhou Regent International Preschool in Suzhou, China where I am currently doing my Internship.  This school was established in 1996 and has been in partnership with George Brown College since 2005.

The school operates from 8:30 am to 4:15 pm on weekdays, catering to approximately 150 children aged 18 months to 6 years old. The classrooms are divided into Pre-Nursery, Nursery, Junior Kindergarten, and Senior Kindergarten levels, each accommodating around 20 children. The curriculum is bilingual and play-based, with a Mandarin teacher, an English teacher, and a nursery governess managing each classroom.

Children enjoy outdoor playtime twice a day for 1 hour and 35 minutes each session. Unlike childcare practices in Canada, children at this school take a brief outdoor walk before naptime to help them relax. Kindergarten-aged children do not nap but engage in interest-oriented classes such as Hip-hop Dancing, Tae Kwon Do, Basketball, Baking, and Lego and Constructing classes during this time.

A unique feature of Chinese kindergartens is the nursery governess, who handles custodial tasks, freeing early childhood educators to focus on implementing curriculum and interacting with children. Teachers maximize transition times for activities like circle time, incorporating reading, singing, and interaction. The use of advanced teaching materials like super clay enhances the learning experience, and the school maintains a clean and welcoming environment for all children.

During the Internship, I am hoping to learn and practice the leadership skills required to assist students on international placements by working alongside Raizel Slobodsky and Dorota Gill, the two GBC staff members accompanying the GBC students on their life-changing adventure!

Stay tuned for more entries coming shortly. Thank you.

Sindy (Jie) Sheng

Jodene Jones, May 26, 2024

My name is Jodene Jones, and I am a recent graduate of the Early Childhood Education Diploma Program at George Brown College. I am currently in Suzhou, China, as part of a Study Abroad Program offered by the college to experience teaching and learning at the Suzhou Regent International Preschool, as well as to immerse in the culture of China.

During my first week in Suzhou, I had the opportunity to visit many beautiful and historic sites. Suzhou is a city filled with rich history, culture, and tourist attractions. Some of the places I have visited so far include Paradise Walk, Emerald City Mall, Tiger Hill, and Ping Jiang.

As a food lover, I have been enjoying novel and interesting food experiences. The tastiest food I have had so far is fried chicken, which is crunchy and delicious. It seems to be a popular ‘on-the-go’ food in Chinese culture, as I have noticed it being sold in almost every convenience store, I visit, along with hot dogs and pork.

The malls in Suzhou are fascinating, with each one offering something unique such as bumper carts, arcades, entertainment, archery, and pottery making.

One of the most remarkable historical sites I have visited is Tiger Hill, which is known for its beautiful historic buildings and scenic views. The area features caves, beautiful plants, trees, ponds, and canals.

Suzhou has been a beautiful and exciting experience so far, and I am looking forward to exploring more of what this city has to offer. For more updates and pictures, please follow us on other GBC platforms.

Thank you,
Jodene Jones

Nicole Jung, May 27, 2024

Hi, my name is Nicole Jung. I am a second-year student in the Early Childhood Education program at George Brown College. The first day of my third placement was exciting. The lab school in Suzhou is in a building attached to the apartment. The school is called Suzhou Regent International Preschool. We were greeted with open arms by everyone in the school. I first walked into the school feeling nervous but excited to meet all the children and educators who work at the school. I was placed in the Pre-Nursery B Room. I met my CECE, who was so kind and welcoming. When I entered the room, I saw a group of children sitting in the construction area. Nervous as I was, I sat down beside them and started playing with the blocks. When one of the children saw that I was building the blocks, the child came over and gave me a block. The child said hello and introduced themselves to me. Then another child pointed at their name on the board…I took it as a good sign and relaxed a bit.

When it was time for my CECE to teach the children English, the teacher let me teach the class many English songs. For example, I taught them "Wheels on the Bus." I showed them the actions of the "Wheels on the Bus" while singing the song with them. I would also read them English books and ask them to identify objects in the books. I got to be involved in transitions and schedules. The children would give me many hugs during the day and would include me in any play that was happening.  It built my confidence and convinced me that I would be OK here.

 I hope to keep learning about building relationships with families, children, and educators and am hoping to establish them in the coming days. In addition, I will be focusing on building and implementing play-based experiences that will nurture children’s development.

Thank you and stay tuned to hear more from the ECE Team!

Nicole Jung

Michelle Ebifegha, May 30, 2024

My name is Michelle Ebifegha. I recently graduated from the Early Childhood Education diploma program at George Brown College. I am currently participating in the Study Abroad program in Suzhou, China. It has been an amazing experience since we arrived two weeks ago from Canada.

We were warmly welcomed by Suzhou Regent International Preschool, and a lot has happened already. The school's principal, Kelly Chen, has been a gracious and supportive host, ensuring that we are well taken care of.

The school has a nurse and an extra staff member in each classroom to assist the educators. Additionally, many enriching experiences are offered, such as taekwondo and baking lessons. Apart from the regular classrooms, the school has special rooms like a Lego room and a kitchen used by the children for baking.

Our team observed the strong connection the school has established with families. Family members participate in the children’s activities, contribute books, attend meetings at the school, provide advice to other caregivers in the community, and have a strong relationship with the staff.

I am part of the kindergarten classroom with an educator whose teaching style has amazed me beyond words. Play is expressive, intrinsic, and fun, and serves as a learning tool. The teacher challenges the children’s minds while making it enjoyable. Despite having emerging language skills, the children understand the teacher very well. She dances with them, plays with them, teaches them, and nurtures them, all while creating an engaging and theatrical learning environment.

It was special for me when a child was speaking to me in Mandarin and one of the children translated it into English. It shows the child’s capability to learn languages at such a young age.


Until next time, thank you.

Michelle Ebifegha

Sindy (Jie) Sheng, May 31, 2024

Hello everyone, my name is Sindy (Jie) Sheng. I am a fourth-year student in the Early Childhood Education degree program at George Brown College. I have completed four placements and lab days, and in Suzhou, I am working on my 420-hour internship as a leadership member alongside my professors now, Ms. Raizell and Ms. Dorota. This internship is divided between Suzhou Regent Preschool in China and the Nelson Mandela Childcare Centre in Toronto. I have five years of experience in Canadian childcare centers and two years of experience as a language teacher in China. However, this is my first time working in a China childcare center, making it a unique learning opportunity, especially in management and leadership.

In the first week, I observed and studied the nursery class at Suzhou Regent Preschool, noting the similarities between childcare centers in China and Canada. I consulted with the principal, Ms. Kelly, and the leadership team to discuss these differences. I also familiarized myself with the preschool's rules, regulations, and campus. In the second week, we visited a public kindergarten with about 700 students to experience public and private schools. During the third week, Professor Dorota gave a one-hour presentation reviewing the foundations and theory of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program with the entire staff. We also explored compliance inspection policies and gained a deeper understanding of the Assessment for Quality Improvement (AQI) management details. For the remainder of the week, I will prepare a report for Principal Ms. Kelly, summarizing the childcare practices in China and Canada to further the collaboration between the Suzhou Regent International School and the GBC School of Early Childhood Education.

This experience has been an incredibly enriching one and has helped me see that there are still many diverse topics to explore and discuss to enhance my abilities as a future degree holder in Early Childhood Education to be able to maintain high-quality or early childhood education environments ensuring the inclusion of various perspectives, knowledge, and ways of being and knowing. Being inspired, and enriched by this experience, I would like to become an exchange ambassador for this collaboration between George Brown College, and the Suzhou Regent Internation Preschool, promoting further this wonderful opportunity to the GBC Students, and staff.  

Thank you, Sindy Sheng