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China in numbers

We are now on day five of what is the second Nursery World tour of China and since arriving we've taken in an incredible mix of professional visits and sightseeing.

wisdomhouseSo far, we've been to a state kindergarten in Shanghai and a private early learning centre in Suzhou — and tomorrow we'll be visiting a private nursery in Beijing.

Already we've crammed in so much. Our group is made up of mostly nursery owners but also includes a student and nursery administrator and we are all all enjoying the mix of sightseeing and professional visits.

Nothing prepares you for the scale of China and the pace of development here. The population now stands at 1.4 billion, and a baby is born every 23 seconds, apparently. Our first full day in Shanghai - 1 September - was the first day of school for 160,000 children in Shanghai alone.

bundWe saw at first hand the speed of change when we walked along the famous street, the Bund. Behind us stood the grand buildings of colonial Shanghai of the 1930s and in front of us, across the river, was a 21st century skyline. It marks the start of 60 miles of development that has all been built in the past 30 years. The day also provided a reminder of China's ancient past, when we visited the Shanghai Museum and saw bronzes that dated back to the 21st century BC! Our next stop was a silk factory.

Our sightseeing continued in Suzhou, where we enjoyed a boat ride along its canals, and visited one of its world-famous Chinese gardens. Then it was on to the bullet train for an 800-mile journey to Beijing. Its average speed is 300km an hour, so I think that means Brighton to Inverness in about five hours! The scale and pace of everything in China is amazing!

tiananmenToday we have visited Tiananmen Square and the Xi Yuan Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

More about the professional visits to nurseries in my next blog.

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