Kindergarten Teaching Jobs in China
Why is preschool education among the most popular jobs in China?
Even though fertility rates in China are considerably low – 1.635 children per woman, the annual number of newborns is extreme: on the average, Chinese mothers give birth to around 16 million of new kids every single year!
You can easily imagine how many kindergarten teaching jobs in China appear regularly, as new nurseries keep popping up everywhere, especially in big cities.
3-year-olds go to private, international or public ones, depending on what their parents can afford.
The latter try very hard to provide the little ones with quality food and a decent education, which begins very early.
A Chinese kindergarten curriculum is quite simple: there are three levels.
The lowest one is for children aged 3-4 or 5, the middle level is for 6 year-olds and the high is for 7-year-old learners, who are going to school soon.
ESL kindergarten lessons are an essential part of a Chinese kid’s life since the idea of learning foreign languages is very important and parents are ready to pay good money for English classes.
Most institutions seek for foreign teachers, so the job market is full of interesting offers for natives and other fluently speaking Europeans.
Kindergarten teaching jobs in Shanghai, Xian, Suzhou, Guangzhou or the capital are the most numerous and best paid, but your choice is not limited to these, as there are plenty of great cities with amazing opportunities out there!
A Typical Week Teaching English at a Kindergarten in China
What does a kindergarten teacher do and how difficult is it?
According to popular beliefs, work with young children is not a hard one – you just play around all day and earn good money.
In fact, it’s responsible and can even get energy consuming, if you are not prepared properly, don’t know the keys to successful TEFL kindergarten or don’t plan your lessons.
Here are a few basics about the job.
What Is It Like to Teach English in Chinese Kindergarten?
Let’s make it short: it’s completely different from other teaching jobs in China.
Of course, you’d still need a TEFL certification and some principles may be similar to adult teaching, but in practice, methods and techniques must be modified.
A teacher for kindergarten should be ready to deal with young learners, be flexible and adapt quickly.
Nonetheless, the overall experience is quite enjoyable – many of our clients even say, that after a year in Chinese kindergartens, they don’t want to switch back to adult classes.
Some wonder whether kindergarten is compulsory in China and are afraid of the eventual number of students.
The answer is no: it’s a possibility, not an obligation, so technically, kindergartners are significantly less numerous, than schoolchildren.
You’ll have up to 20 kids at once and still be able to profit from the help of a couple of teaching assistants (who will actively participate in classes and translate some things, if necessary).
Schedule of a Teacher in China Kindergarten
How long is a school day in China?
It really depends. It can be anything between 10 hours (including the long lunch&nap break) and 3 or 4 hours per day.
Longer hours are not necessarily worse, it’s just that requirements may slightly differ.
Here are two main variants of a kindergarten schedule in China:
- Full-time positions: you are given one group of children to spend 100% of your work time with;
- English teaching only jobs: you work with several groups of different age.
In the latter case, you’d just teach ESL lessons for kindergarten, no additional work required.
Opting for a full-time position with a single group of kids, be ready not only to teaching English to preschoolers, but keeping an eye on them throughout the day as well.
Some basic PE, cooking classes and art are also on you, plus inside and outside activities.
A full-time kindergartner is one of those teaching jobs in China for foreigners where you start early, finish early and benefit from a huge lunchtime break (up to 2.5 hours).
The day starts at about 7:30 am and you’re free to go home by 5:30 pm.
For many kindergarten teaching jobs in China it can be less, like 8:15 – 11:30 am plus office hours on some days.
If you prefer kindergarten ESL exclusively, there might be less working hours, as actual classes last 30 or 40 minutes at the most.
Sometimes there can be 5 classes in a row, but usually, it’s not the case. Some nurseries require office hours, while others don’t.
This type of primary school teaching jobs in China gives you more freedom and is an option for someone, who doesn’t want to become an educator and spend the entire working day with kids.
Part-time jobs kindergarten are also great for someone, who only wants to gain experience in the field of early childhood education in China because you can always negotiate fewer hours.
How to Teach Kindergarten Kids English?
A fresh teacher needs to be prepared for this experience. Unlike adults and elder kids, kindergarten learners are far from being independent. They can’t even write or draw on their own, their use very basic vocabulary and don’t understand or form long sentences. How to teach English to small kids then?
The principle is simple: you forget about complicated things and don’t expect kids to do more than singing, coloring, and playing.
But you make them use English words instead of Mandarin.
Games are crucial! Normally, you’ll need up to 4 different activities for a 20-minute class, which may seem dense at first, but with practice, you’ll understand that it’s the only way. Otherwise, your students will get bored and distracted.
The key to how to teach kindergarten kids English effectively is to move a lot and speak the very basic language.
What Does a Kindergarten Teacher in China Do?
The thing is, at this age, you can’t give them homework or force children to learn. Kindergarten English lessons are more about fun and getting to play new games, which is what young children do most of the time, but your task is to make them do it in a foreign language.
- Sing together with kids;
- Do some dancing;
- Watch cartoons or funny videos;
- Color pictures, learning new words (animals, objects, etc.);
- Play different games.
Even though it may seem useless, preschool ESL lesson planning can save you lots of time and let you prepare better.
Use provided materials, look for videos and print some pictures if needed.
Don’t limit your imagination and invent games, because creativity is an essential ingredient to the right candidate for a kindergarten teaching job in China.
Is a Kindergarten Teaching Job Right for You?
In order to teach in China in 2019, a teacher is expected to fulfill the following requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree (any field, preferably in education)
- 22 – 55 years old
- Clear background check
- 120-hour TEFL (although in China jobs will offer free training upon arrival)
- Basic drawing, singing and music skills (needed during the class)
- Experience in kindergarten class jobs is a plus
- Open-minded, patient, good and kind, active person, willing to learn new things
- Native speaker/teaching jobs in China for non-native speakers are also available.
Not being one of the countries that don’t require a degree to teach English, China welcomes inexperienced teachers and fresh graduates from all over the world.
We all understand that teaching English to kindergarteners is not about excellent knowledge of the language or accent or the resume – it’s more about creativity, patience, positive attitude and genuine interest in your students.
Don’t worry, if you have never worked in this field before, or haven’t been certified and are completely new to it.
There are hundreds of ESL programs for kindergarten out there, chances are you’ll find something suitable very fast.
Benefits for Kindergarten Jobs in China
- All kindergarten jobs in China offer 2 days off per week
- Airport pickup
- Flight ticket reimbursement: 3,000 RMB
- 11 national holidays + up to 15 days of personal vacation per year
- Contract completion bonus: up to 7,000 RMB
- Extra money for signing each new contract
- Z visa + all expenses covered
- Free Western-style accommodation + prepaid hotel upon arrival
- Welcome pack (SIM card, bank account, bus pass, full health insurance etc.)
- Free TEFL (jobs provide it if needed)
- Regular performance bonuses
- Referral bonuses per each new employee, meeting kindergarten teacher requirements
- Academic support
- Help and language assistance with banks, officials, doctors etc.
- Free Mandarin classes
- Promotion opportunities within the institution
- Annual staff trips
- Training and coaching, class supervision
How Much Do Kindergarten Teachers Make in China?
The question is frequently asked, and it’s totally natural. It’s important to clarify, that answers may differ, depending on:
- Your experience and qualifications;
- Region and city: Beijing parents are richer and average pay for kindergarten teachers is considerably higher;
- Schedule: even though some part-time jobs pay very well, full-time positions offer far more benefits;
- Institution: international jobs in China offer better wages, than public ones.
So, how much money does a kindergarten teacher make on the average?
It can be anywhere between 8,000 RMB and 20,000 RMB ($1,200 – $3,000).
In some smaller cities like Yanjiao, Weihai or Foshan it might be difficult to find a position with over 15,000 RMB, while Shanghai can easily offer an impressive kindergarten teacher income in addition to free housing and other perks.
However, comparing cities and salaries, don’t forget, that the cost of living can differ drastically: prices are 42% lower in Kunming than in the capital city.
Teaching English for kindergarten with 12,000 RMB ($1,800) may sometimes let you save more cash than a 16,000 RMB ($2,400) salary in a megalopolis, just because of the prices in shops and restaurants, public transport and entertainment.
This is why the question should be about what you can afford with your income in a particular city, instead of asking: “How much do kindergarten teachers make?”, the answer to which is more about figures, than useful information.
ESL Activities and Games for Kindergarten
As for ESL activities for kindergarten, the bottom-line thing is to determine your students’ level and adapt the task to their abilities and interests.
The idea of initiating preschoolers to foreign languages is to immerse them and create a language environment in class.
A typical kindergarten in China is fully equipped: you’ll find a TV, a laptop, a touchscreen whiteboard and lots of toys, puppets, games, and material to entertain your students. Here are a few activities, you could use:
- Simon says. Remember, that you can invent new games, based on the ones children actually play in your home country. You should associate words with gestures – it’s the key to effective teaching ESL kindergarten. Use it when you sing songs, learn new vocabulary or revise it. Introducing body parts make children touch the body part you name: “head”, “ears”, “legs” etc. The same goes for animals, numbers, verbs or colors. This will help your young students learn faster and show better results without getting bored or distracted.
- Flashcards. Movement and colorful pictures are the two things, that matter to a young child. Using cards with beautiful drawings of animals or things are great for ESL games for kindergarten. You could also take them out to review words or to learn the lyrics of a song.
- Objects. Replace pictures with objects whenever it’s possible. Touching and seeing things make memorizing easier.
- Songs and video clips. Are you teaching kids about jobs, animals, fruit or colors? A song just can’t fail. Plus, it’s a great way to calm down a group of noisy children. Don’t be afraid of listening over and over the same playlist, because young ones enjoy familiar things and like to hear and sing along. While listening you can do exercises with flashcards: whenever they recognize a word, children should show you the right card.
- Coloring. As in China kindergarten children can’t draw or write yet, coloring is the ideal option. They develop skills, choose colors and focus, while you can sing songs or repeat new words together.
A Few Tips About Chinese Kindergartens
It’s important to note, that your kindergarten teaching job in China may not always be easy and fun (although, you are expected to bring these into class)! Be prepared for that.
What difficulties can you encounter?
As mentioned above, English classes for kindergarten are completely different from anything you might have experienced before – there is less “learning” and much more activities, fun and movement.
Children may get excited or nervous sometimes, so don’t panic if someone starts crying, otherwise, the rest of the class will do the same. Keep calm no matter what.
The main disadvantage of such types of teaching jobs is that students are emotional and vulnerable, and tend to get distracted and forget everything all the time.
Don’t push or get annoyed – it’s due to their age and it’s normal. Not your fault.
Some might get alarmed because parents want to see their little ones’ progress and ask about them. Well, don’t.
When you teach English for kindergarten it would be a smart strategy to share clips you listen to in class with parents, so that children could sing at home and avoid forgetting things.
Plus, you could teach them some basic phrases like “I love you”, “how are you?”, “I missed you” etc. Think of something, children could say at home.
This will please parents and just be useful.
The last but not the least kindergarten teaching jobs eventual difficulty is the language barrier.
As most people don’t speak foreign languages even in big cities, chances are your colleagues won’t either.
Doing the effort to learn some basic Mandarin is a great idea: this would earn you extra respect from Chinese coworkers, facilitate communication in the office, plus you could understand your students better.
Do you feel like kindergarten teacher jobs in China might be your thing?
Our agency is constantly looking for enthusiastic teachers all around the globe.
Leave us your contact information and we will find a position for you in no time.