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What personalised learning looks like at Huili Nursery Shanghai

17 May 2022

If you see ten faces in a photo, some are crying, some are smiling and some exhibit no particular expression. Which one gets your attention first? 

Most people notice the crying or smiling faces first, but it is those faces with neutral expressions that need our attention the most because they are so easily overlooked.


Every child is talented and unique, and at Huili Nursery Shanghai, we make sure every single one of them is acknowledged. Only by respecting their uniqueness can we help them acquire qualities that will benefit them for a lifetime.




A scientific assessment method



A Huili education meets a pupil’s individual needs. We assess these needs with the Leuven scale, which measures two factors that are key to a successful Early Years education: wellbeing and involvement. Teachers apply the Leuven scale as they observe a pupil’s routines, behaviours and interactions with others.  

Children often behave differently throughout the day. Some complete activities quietly and answer every question the teacher asks. Others, however, are eager to participate but lack the attention span to see a task through to its completion.


If a child completes an activity but appears unhappy while doing it, this could be a sign of high involvement, but low wellbeing. In such cases, a teacher may need to dig deeper to find the reason for such an imbalance.

Conversely, if a child happily plays every game but cannot seem to stay engaged for longer than a few minutes, wellbeing could be high while involvement is low. A teacher may have to reassess the activity. Perhaps it is too challenging for the child.


Assessment results, however, are not static. While a child can achieve all development goals at one stage, they may have difficulty in the next stage. Teachers must therefore constantly adjust their expectations and plan accordingly.  



Developing every child’s individuality



Measuring wellbeing and involvement deepens our teachers’ understanding of our pupils’ needs. It enables them to provide personalised emotional support and a safe, welcoming environment in which they can build relationships with their peers. 

An illustrative example is when Huili welcomed its first set of twins to the nursery. Their parents had the same expectations for them, but our teachers found that they were quite different from each other. They explained this to the parents and employed remarkably different teaching techniques to each child.  In group activities, the teachers also assigned different tasks to them and motivated them to cooperate with others instead of only playing and working with each other. 

By the time they entered EY3, they were assigned to different classes, enabling them to branch out and befriend other children. They developed their own unique personalities, had their own friends and interests and felt comfortable and confident in different environments, but they nevertheless remained close.

Continued communication with their parents in combination with our differentiated support made it possible for these twins to develop greater individuality and autonomy.  


Ultimately, this is what a Huili education is all about — acknowledging each child and their individuality and providing personalised support. When children are seen, they feel confident and cared for, and this builds a strong foundation for a happy and fulfilling life.