Days: Tuesdays

Time: 09:00-11:00 AM

Place: PFO Community Lounge, Qin Building (Elementary)

IST offers a free playgroup opportunity for members of Tianjin’s expatriate community and we are very pleased to be able to welcome you and your children onto our campus. Our playgroup is open to children up to 5 years old. It is a wonderful opportunity for the children to engage with others their age, promoting creative play and allowing them to expend some energy! And it’s a lovely time for parents to visit, learn more about the IST community and the surrounding area, share experiences, exchange ideas and information and offer support.

Tea and coffee are provided, but you are welcome to bring your own favourite snacks too. The playgroup is run in a collaborative way by the families who use it, and supported by the school administration. We can make art and craft materials available and there are plenty of toys too.

Please note, if you are not already a member of the IST community, we do ask that you sign in at the gate each visit and wear the yellow visitor badge while on school grounds.

Please contact the Elementary Office for further information or to arrange a visit:

Playgroup Guidelines

  • For a child to qualify to attend playgroup the child must hold a foreign passport unless otherwise invited to attend playgroup by the school administration.
  • At least one parent must accompany their child to playgroup. It is not acceptable for parents to simply send their child-care helpers along to playgroup with their child and not attend themselves. Parents are welcome to bring their child-care helpers with them.
  • IST has an ‘English Please’ policy and consequently we ask that, in so much as they are able, parents use English when communicating together in playgroup. It is of course entirely appropriate for parents to use mother tongue languages when communicating with their own children.
  • IST is happy to provide resources to support playgroup and maintains a small budget line to support the ongoing development of the program. The Elementary Principal is required to approve such purchases.
  • Playgroup parents and children are welcome to use the Playgroup/PFO room and the outside playground facilities at times when these are not in use by other classes. Unfortunately the inside playroom and the NPK playground are considered classroom extensions and consequently are not available for Playgroup to use.
  • Although IST promotes a family oriented program, Playgroup parents and their children are asked not to visit siblings and friends in IST’s formal classes unless such visits have been expressly requested by homeroom teachers or approved in advance by the Elementary Principal.
  • Whilst playgroup is an informal opportunity for expatriate pre-school children and their parents to meet and socialize together, it should also be noted that structured play sessions result in significantly improved social and productive play based learning opportunities for children.
  • It is recommended that playgroup parents create a Parent and Child Contact List so that they can easily communicate outside of playgroup hours and so that they can more effectively plan learning experiences that will enrich the sessions for all involved.
  • It is also recommended that playgroup parents work together to create a framework for the playgroup sessions so that free play and socializing is balanced with planned learning activities such as ‘circle singing time’, art and craft activities, and gross motor outside games.
  • Playgroup parents are encouraged to approach the Elementary Principal for advice and support with the ongoing development of the program.