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New Mexico State University

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NMSU College of Education conducting Study Tour to China

The New Mexico State University College of Education in coordination with Beijing Normal University in China is conducting an Early Childhood Education Study Tour June 6-22.

"This is an opportunity for students and practitioners in New Mexico to go out into the international community and make connections. We need to serve our students from a global perspective," said Candace Kaye, an NMSU early childhood graduate faculty member who is coordinating the trip. "BNU is one of the most prestigious institutions for teacher education in China, with a particular strength in early childhood education."

About 13 students, professionals and community members throughout the state are participating in the tour. The course is available at the undergraduate or graduate level and participants can register for 1 to 3 credits. Kaye said this is an opportunity for early childhood practitioners to participate in professional development from an international perspective.

Topics to be discussed on the tour include an overview of contemporary Chinese early childhood education and its history; social and economic implications of early childhood education; school readiness; and comparisons with U.S. systems. An important part of the study tour will be visits to early childhood classrooms and teacher education programs in Beijing.

Lectures and discussions will be led by BNU faculty, including Xiaodong Zeng, associate dean of the BNU School of Education. Other BNU faculty participating in the cultural exchange are Liu Yaun, chair of the early childhood education department, and Pan Yuejuan, an early childhood assistant professor.

"Participation in the tour will be an opportunity for students to broaden their cultural experiences and knowledge," Kaye said. "This tour can give early childhood students and practitioners a new viewpoint that will allow them to reflect on the field from an international perspective. During the tour, we also have the opportunity to begin collaborative action research projects with our colleagues at BNU that will continue for two years, culminating in a proposed conference in 2011 here at NMSU."

Kaye said the tour is a direct result of a memorandum of understanding, signed by NMSU and BNU in 2006 under the leadership of Robert Moulton, interim executive vice president and provost, who was the dean of the College of Education at the time. The memorandum's intent was to build long-term collaboration between the two universities.

The tour is part of NMSU's continuing outreach efforts to educate and improve the lives of New Mexicans.

For more information on the tour, contact Kaye at (575) 646-8310 or kaye@nmsu.edu