A COSMOPOLITAN preschool which teaches children from around the world, has been chosen for an international study of early years education by researchers from South Korea.

Polstead Preschool, a community-led nursery school in North Oxford, welcomed researchers from the East Asian country after it was selected as a centre of excellence in a study looking at different learning settings for young children.

Researchers from the South Korean capital, Seoul, were joined by Dr Jennifer Chung, a lecturer in early years education at the Institute of Education at University College London. They were welcomed by a banner depicting the Korean national animal, the Siberian tiger, made by the children – who greeted their guests while wearing handmade masks of their own favourite animals.

At the heart of its community for nearly 40 years, Polstead Preschool boasts multilingual staff who care for an international group of children from as far away as the USA, eastern and western Europe and China, many with parents attached to Oxford University and Oxford University Hospitals.

Oxford Mail: Polstead preschool, Oxford. Picture: Daniel Hughes

The preschool – rated good by Ofsted – uses the premises of the St Margaret’s Institute, in Polstead Road, packing away every afternoon and setting up again each weekday morning.

The Korean academics, Professors Soon Hwan Kim and Hong-Ju Jun, were keen to see how the setting succeeded in ‘popping-up’ each day, so paid a visit to the team, led by manager Adriana Hughes and her team along with the youngsters.

Dr Chung, a graduate of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, said: “We had two Professors of Early Childhood Education from Seoul who wanted to see different types of early years settings.

Oxford Mail: Polstead Preschool, Oxford. Picture by Daniel Hughes

“We thought Polstead Preschool was excellent and it particularly impressed the visitors from South Korea who had never seen a place that packed up and set up each day. It takes a lot of energy and they wanted to experience it. It was an amazing visit as the children had learned about South Korea and made animals masks and a banner with a tiger.

“Adriana is very good at her job with a lot of experience and teaches with engagement. A lot of students come from families at the university and speak a number of languages, which is a challenge for staff but a great quality.”

Oxford Mail: Polstead preschool, Oxford. Picture: Daniel Hughes

Manager, Mrs Hughes, said: “It was a great privilege to welcome Dr Chung and the visitors from South Korea. It is great to be able to share experience with them. We are delighted they were impressed by our friendly, welcoming, international preschool.”

  • For more details on Polstead Preschool see Polstead.org.uk