On October 8, Michael J. Graham, S.J., president of Xavier University, signed a memorandum of understanding with Xu Hongwei, director of International Cooperation and Exchange Affairs at Zhengzhou Normal University. This agreement lays the foundation for a cooperative relationship between the two universities with particular attention to Montessori Education. The Chinese delegation also included Xinping Li, a renowned television producer and educator from China, and translator Giacomo Forte. Graham was joined by Xavier provost and chief academic officer Scott Chadwick, Gina Lofquist, director of Xavier's Montessori Program, Cindy Geer, chair of the Department of Childhood Education and Literacy, Lori Johnson, assistant provost for Student Enrichment, and Mark Meyers, dean of the College of Social Sciences, Health and Education.
“This agreement starts the creation of programs for children in China to provide access to the high quality Montessori education Xavier is known for," said Lofquist. “Our intention is that this partnership will lead to the development of a clear quality standard for Montessori Education in China."
Xavier University is a world leader in Montessori Education. Home of the first Master's program in Montessori Education and the focal point for best practice in Montessori, Xavier has relationships throughout the world to improve education for the world’s children. The Montessori philosophy of education supports the fundamental tenet that a child learns best within a social environment that supports each individual's unique development. Multi-age grouping in each class promotes peer group learning. The Montessori teacher learns to be a scientific observer and facilitator. The educator provides an environment for children developmentally appropriate to help growth in all areas: social, cognitive, emotional and physical. Xavier’s Montessori teacher education undergraduate program is based on a strong foundation in liberal arts and child development. It prepares teachers with an understanding of Montessori philosophy in light of the education of the past and present. The Montessori curriculum prepares graduates to teach practical life, art, music, movement, sensorial, math, language, geography, science and history.
“Xavier is poised to provide a service to the children and teachers of China, while also starting a relationship which will help our students develop learning opportunities,” said Meyers.
Zhengzhou Normal University, formerly Zhengzhou Teachers' College, was founded in 1952. Today, it is a full-fledged university and a public institution of higher learning accredited by China’s Ministry of Education. It has 17 departments in science, education and the arts. In recent years, Zhengzhou has broadened its international exchanges and has established intercollegiate relationships with 14 universities and institutions in Great Britain, Russia, Brazil, Canada, and now the United States.