China is currently facing a difficult problem caused by their education system: many Chinese children lack the creativity and proper emotional development necessary to excel in today’s world. Chinese students are taught to memorize rather than to be free-thinkers, resulting in a lack of imagination and innovation. Many fear that “high stakes testing is robbing their children of their childhood, curiosity, and creativity.”* Chinese children often struggle with self-esteem, self-confidence, and school performance because they are missing essential tools to succeed. Sparkifi LLC was born in order to reverse the detriments of the Chinese school system and enable Chinese children to thrive.

Sparkifi LLC is a groundbreaking organization that utilizes hands-on learning experiences to promote holistic development in Chinese children. Our research-based practices predominately focus on promoting children’s social and emotional skills and how they approach play and learning (i.e. curiosity and creativity), as these domains of development are often neglected in the Chinese education system. Today’s children often face several emotional, social, and cognitive challenges that can be overcome with the right knowledge and life tools.

In our international program, we bring children and their guardian(s) to the U.S. for a short-term, intensive camp experience. During this time period, our students study in our indoor and outdoor classrooms that are uniquely tailored to their specific developmental needs. Conventional camps teach children excellent skills and lessons, however once the child returns home, their newly learned educational tools are no longer enforced and sadly forgotten. It is our philosophy that a guardian should undergo this transformative process with the child so that there will be continual re-enforcement after camp is over. The accompanying parents are taught about children’s development (with a focus on the importance of social emotional learning), how to promote their child’s holistic development, and have opportunities to practice their new skills under a guided framework.

Rubin, C. M. “The Global Search for Education: Creative China – Part 2.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 8 Dec. 2014. Web.


Although all domains of development are equally important, our current programs focus on promoting children’s social emotional learning because this area is often neglected in Chinese society and education system. A child’s ability to think critically, creatively, and curiously can be greatly transformed by the research-based curriculum that is integrated into our educational camps. A revolutionary study conducted by Columbia University found that “social and emotional learning in schools can be as important as or even more important than cognitive gains in explaining important developmental and life outcomes.”* Children will not only have the time of their lives, but will return home with a newfound sense of self-worth and empowerment that will positively affect them for the rest of their lives.

Intentional social emotional learning leads to a variety of positive school and life outcomes. In fact, studies have shown that children who participated in social emotional learning experience higher self-esteem and self-confidence, greater school readiness and academic success, fewer

misconduct problems such as aggression or disruptive behavior, and less emotional distress such as depression, anxiety or social withdrawal.** These negative consequences are avoidable and can be recognized and overcome by children when they have the proper educational tools and experiences.

Today’s society is looking for imaginative and creative minds to lead the way. Our work creates a safe and fun environment for kids to grow into the individuals that Chinese society desperately needs.

*Belfield, Clive, Brooks Bowden, and Sabine Zander. “The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning.” (2015 revised): n. pag. Http://cbcse.org. Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education Teachers College, Columbia University. Web.

**Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D. & Schellinger, K. B. (2011), The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82: 405–432.


Becca Berman

Programs Manager

Casey McGee

Graphic Designer

Yan Guo

China Project Director

Li Ming Wan

Community Operations

Meng Ru Wan

New Media Operations

Richard Zhai



Rachel Pano

Childhood Educator

Bridget Donovan

Childhood Educator

Rachel Grinstead-Babson

Childhood Educator

Our family-based educational camps utilize social and emotional learning (SEL) in order to positively shape and cultivate the emotional health of each child that attends a Sparkifi LLC camp.

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