Czech-Chinese kindergarten opens

A new small school for children is the first of its kind in Prague

The first bilingual Czech and Chinese kindergarten has opened in Prague's Modřany district. Children attending ChinCen can learn from native speakers from China, and there will be a Czech and Chinese teacher every day for different activities. The school has language lessons as well instruction on Chinese culture and fairytales.

The Czech Republic in the past few years has had increasing ties with China, and several businesses now have Chinese investors or owners. These include beer maker Lobkowicz Group, football club Slavia and J & T Finance Group. There has also been a lot of interest from Chinese buyers on the real estate market. Several airlines have direct links between Prague and Chinese cities. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Prague in 2016.

The school, though, says it does not have direct ties with Chinese investors or businesses.

ChinCen was founded by Adam Černý, a legal advocate for former Central Bohemian governor David Rath and former prime minister Petr Nečas. The school is led by his sister, Daniela Černá.

“I want my child to be extraordinary, since English nowadays is commonplace, we have opened a kindergarten for parents who, like us, believe that Chinese will have great potential in the future and children will be able to benefit from it,” Černý told daily Hospodářské noviny (HN).

ChinCen is primarily aimed at Czech children, although Chinese children are also welcome and can benefit from the Czech environment and language.

Capacity for the school is small, with a maximum of 15 children. Černý said it was more like a pilot project. The school is in recently renovated villa.

The school website emphasizes the small class size and individual approach that the young students get. The school also has new and modern equipment, educational toys and teaching supplies. There is also a large outdoor play area.

School director Černá said that is important to start learning a foreign language from a very early age, especially something like Chinese, which is very different than Czech. She added that it was ideal to start learning foreign languages by age 6.

Aside from focusing on Chinese culture and language, attention is paid to art education and exercise. Physical education includes elements of tai chi and yoga suitable for children. The cafeteria offers mostly vegetarian cuisine from an organic supplier.

While teaching is in the morning, the school also offer more free-form but supervised afternoon activities.

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