A good education is the cornerstone of a child's life. With the development of China’s economy and the repeal of the one child policy, Chinese parents are paying more and more attention to preschool and kindergarten education. With a stark change from the past, now many families will send their children to kindergartens as young as 2 or 3 years old! Due to this, kindergartens are facing a shortage of teachers, especially English teachers. Kindergartens are divided into public and private. As of the writing of this article (3/28/2020), the majority of kindergartens in China are private, and many have native English-speaking teachers. In first and second-tier cities in China, many middle and upper-middle class households will send their children to private kindergartens. They believe that a proper basic education includes a strong foundation in a foreign language – and their foreign language of choice is English. With tuition fees of at least 80,000 RMB ($11,000-$28,000) a year, they make sure to have as many qualified ESL teachers available there as possible. With the increasing need for English education, this provides many opportunities for ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers.

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Work Time and Teaching length:

Kindergartens in China operate on a similar schedule as other types of schools in China: from 8:00am-11:30am with about an hour or two of lunch followed by class from 2:30pm-5:00pm. If you want a normal, stable schedule, teaching at a kindergarten would be perfect for you! Expats at most kindergartens will teach several classes of 25 minutes each. For higher end, elite kindergartens, expats will generally only teach one class and spend more time with the students. In addition to teaching, expat teachers will also work with the local Chinese teachers to plan and organize games as well as provide guidance on life skills.

Class Size and Composition

The average kindergarten class size is around 20 to 30 students plus 2 to 3 Chinese teachers and a bilingual teacher. They’ll assist you with both teaching and managing the class. Though there are many children, you won’t need to worry about controlling the classroom as they’re there to help! The school will make sure that you’re able to acclimatize to the Chinese kindergarten teaching environment in a short time smoothly.

Facilities and Teaching Materials


Kindergarten course curriculum is generally divided into three groups:


K1: Children ages 3 to 4

K2: 4 to 5 years old

K3: 5 to 6 years old


Generally speaking, kindergartens provide curriculum for teachers to use in lesson preparation. Many kindergartens in China use advanced, international level standardized methods of education. Take Shenzhen as an example: many international kindergartens in Shenzhen use Montessori, Waldorf, and IB teaching methods. Therefore, ESL teachers who are familiar with these teaching methods will have smooth sailing for promotion opportunities. In addition, it’ll be easy to switch from being a teacher to a researcher (if one is inclined to do so). Your teaching will be invaluable for these schools, and they will make sure you’re equipped with state-of-the-art classrooms with interactive whiteboards, various materials, toys and games!

Salary and Benefits

  • An Impressive Starting Salary of 15,000 RMB-23,000RMB(~$2,170-$3,330) per month!

  • Accommodation provided or a housing subsidy given

  • Flight Allowance

  • Health Insurance

  • National Chinese public holidays plus paid winter and summer vacations

  • Legal “Z” work visa and residence permits provided

  • Mandarin Chinese lessons

  • Courtesy pickup from the airport

  • Promotion opportunities

Requirements to Teach at Language Schools in China

  • Native English speaker

  • Bachelor’s degree in any subject

  • TEFL certificate or 2 years teaching experience

  • Between 20 and 60 years old

  • Clean background check

  • Be able to submit a health report

Benefits of Working at a Kindergarten


  • -Enjoy a stable work schedule!

  • Compared with other types of schools, ESL teachers teaching at a kindergarten command a higher average salary. Though international schools tend to have higher salaries than kindergartens, with a higher salary come significantly higher requirements. Usually, international schools will only recruit teachers with related subject experience, while kindergartens will usually accept any undergraduate degree. As they have their own curriculum and will also take into account the teacher’s personality (especially in regards to working with children), you’ll feel a bit more carefree and relaxed teaching at a kindergarten. You have to love and be willing to play with children though – so if you aren’t patient or happy with kids, we suggest you look into another type of school.

  • You will have more opportunities for promotion. For example, after getting your foot in the door and adding some teaching experience under your belt, you can be set on the path to becoming an expat principal, director of studies or a curriculum researcher.

  • You will have weekends and winter and summer vacations off. This gives you the perfect opportunity to explore the rest of China (and Asia)!

  • Kindergartens will ensure you’re well fed with three meals a day. If you’re not a fan of cooking, then let the kindergarten feed you. In some international kindergartens, they’ll even prepare healthy, tasteful western dishes.

  • With weekends off, you’ll have the opportunity to take on part-time jobs during the weekend for additional income.

A day teaching English in Kindergarten

The kindergarten provides three meals everyday, so if you do not want to make breakfast by yourself, you can arrive at the school before 8 to enjoy breakfast. Beginning at 8 o'clock, the teachers will welcome the children to the campus at the gate. Starting at 8:30, the children will do some morning exercises with music and games on the playground. Some teachers will accompany the children to do the morning exercise, but it depending on the school's teaching arrangements. About thirty minutes later, the children will enter the classroom for breakfast, and you will organize the children's activities and control the classroom situation with the Chinese teacher in the class.

9 am-11pm is teaching time. The content of the class is mainly developed in the form of phonics, reading, storytelling, dancing, singing, and games. It is important for children to learn in fun. At 11:30, the children will take a nap after lunch. This is the lunch and rest time for the teachers. The kindergarten provides lunch. But you can bring lunch by yourself if you do not like Chinese food. After lunch and breaks, there will be one hour for preparing teaching plans or teaching and research activities, conference arrangements, and then start the afternoon class.

In special festivals, such as Children's Day, Christmas, Spring Festival and other festivals, kindergartens will hold big events. At this time, the school will ask the ESL teacher participate in and arrange some role play programs, English speech and other programs. If you are a new teacher, you don't need to worry about your inexperience, the experienced teachers in school will take you to complete and experience the fun of teaching.

All kindergartens work from Monday to Friday and are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

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