Posted Monday 10 June 2019
A partnership between Kingston University and the world-leading pre-school education provider Pingu's English has led to the opening of the first kindergarten school in Cambodia.
The international kindergarten, which has been opened in the Southeast Asian country by Pingu's English, will teach almost 100 children aged from three to six English in a way that combines listening, speaking, writing and reading skills.
Lessons at the school will be based on a curriculum developed by Kingston University's School of Education which includes numeracy, information technology, literacy, social engagement, craft skills, role play, songs and games. It was created following the
Pingu's English, established by the Linguaphone Group in 2007, is centred on the Antarctic adventures of loveable children's TV character Pingu, who makes a good role model for kids of all ages.
The curriculum is currently being taught 30 hours a week in already-existing schools in more than 20 countries worldwide, including Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Turkey, with resources, such as textbooks, phonics and songs, created by Kingston's graduates and academics and Pingu's English Academic team. Students from the University's music department have written some of the songs in the syllabus.
As well as using Kingston's innovative play-based learning techniques to help pupils discover vital language, maths, IT and other important life skills, the programme also prepares them for a more formal start to their school education, with primary teaching in Cambodia beginning at the age of six.
Expertise from academics in the University's School of Computer Science and Mathematics is also being called upon to develop the teaching even further. Following the award of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership grant, they are focusing on creating a stimulating online learning environment, which incorporates game design techniques to support interaction between the teachers and pupils across Pingu's English global school network.
Senior lecturer in computer science Jarek Francik believes the opportunity to try out game design principles, through player engagement and immersion, makes the project particularly distinct. "This new concept creates countless challenges like how to meet specific emotional and intellectual needs while delivering an effective learning and teaching tool to three to seven-year olds and how to attract and maintain their attention, so they continue to progress throughout the programme," he said.
As well as tapping into the University's academic expertise, the partnership brings a number of potential benefits for Kingston's education students. There are plans to give them the opportunity to deliver the curriculum to international kindergarten schools around the world, enabling the students to gain valuable insight into teaching in different cultures and environments.
Director of learning and teaching at the University's School of Education Daryl Maisey said the opening of the first Pingu's English kindergarten was a particularly significant milestone for the team involved, continuing retired associate professor Anne Rawlings' work who designed the curriculum with support from partnership associate Dr Teresa Noguera. "We wanted to create a modern curriculum that not only helps young children learn English but enhances their learning and development in all areas.
"The curriculum is child-centred and fun, centring on the readily recognisable character of Pingu. The children relate to him and it's rewarding to see their faces light up as they enjoy their playful learning," she added.
CEO of the Linguaphone Group Derek Price said extending the traditional English program from a two hour a week curriculum to 30 hours a week was a substantial growth and proved that everything his company develop has a high quality focus. "The role of Kingston University in that development has been absolutely central, considering the success in the Early Years team achieved by the University," he said.
"With the successful launch of the International Kindergarten Program, Pingu's English is making great strides in the delivery of its early-years strategy worldwide.
"The Group now considers the University to be a valued long-term strategic partner, evidenced by the latest collaboration on the upgraded gamification of the Pingu's English ELT curriculum and by a full nursery program that we endeavour to develop together in the near future," he added.