YCYW Held Seminar on the Trailblazing Journey of ECE Practice

BEIJING, June 3, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — On 30 May, in Beijing, the Yew Chung Yew Wah Education Network (YCYW) held a seminar on “Exploring the Trailblazing Journey of Early Childhood Education Practice”, and launched the simplified Chinese version of The Yew Chung Approach to Early Childhood Education at YWIES Beijing Yizhuang. The event occurred two days before Children’s Day on 1 June.

YCYW’s CEO & School Supervisor, Dr Betty Chan Po-king, and YCYW’s Chairman, Professor Paul Yip Kwok-wah attended. They were joined at the event by: Madam Li Xiaolin, Honorary Chairperson of the Tao Xingzhi Education Foundation; Professor Shi Ping, Head of Early Childhood Education Department of the Chor Hang Educational Research Institute of Yew Chung College of Early Childhood (YCCECE), and Head of the YCCECE Mainland Development Office; Madam Zhu Muju, Advisor of the Academic Committee of the Chinese Society of Education, Former Inspector of the Basic Education Department II of the Ministry of Education, and Former Director of the National Centre for School Curriculum and Textbook Development; Professor Ren Junhua, Doctoral Supervisor at the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (National Academy of Governance); and Dr Xu Xuejun, YCYW’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Chief Business Development Officer. 

The Yew Chung Approach to Early Childhood Education, which distils the 12 Values of YCYW’S approach to early childhood education, is the culmination of our decades of practical experience and refinement in early childhood educational practice in the Hong Kong SAR and the Chinese mainland. The Chinese edition of this publication will facilitate the dissemination of the YCYW approach to ECE throughout China.

(From left to right) Madam Zhu Muju, Professor Paul Yip Kwok-wah, Dr Betty Chan Po-king, Madam Li Xiaolin, and Professor Shi Ping announce the official release of the simplified Chinese version of The Yew Chung Approach to Early Childhood Education
(From left to right) Madam Zhu Muju, Professor Paul Yip Kwok-wah, Dr Betty Chan Po-king, Madam Li Xiaolin, and Professor Shi Ping announce the official release of the simplified Chinese version of The Yew Chung Approach to Early Childhood Education

In her opening speech, Dr Betty Chan Po-king said: “Throughout Yew Chung Yew Wah’s development in early childhood education, Beijing has played a pivotal role in initiating our exchanges and cooperation with the education sector of the Chinese mainland.”

In the 1970s, after returning from her studies in the United States, Dr Betty Chan Po-king introduced the Western educational concept of “learning through play” into Hong Kong SAR’s traditional early childhood education environment. She recounted a pivotal moment on the eve of Children’s Day in 1985. In order to share the latest international educational concepts and practices with colleagues in the Chinese mainland, Dr Betty Chan Po-king had been invited by the Soong Ching Ling Foundation to give a presentation on early childhood education at the “Pillars of Tomorrow” exhibition in Beihai Park, Beijing. That exhibition was the first to introduce an early childhood education model from outside the Chinese mainland since Reform and Opening Up. Madam Kang Keqing, the Chairperson of the Soong Ching Ling Foundation, officiated the opening ceremony. The exhibition received an overwhelming response. As a result, Beijing became a crucial hub for YCYW’s engagements and cooperation with the education sector in the Chinese mainland.

In 1989, UNICEF spearheaded the “International Symposium on Early Childhood Education in the 21st Century” in Hong Kong SAR. It was the first global symposium that focused on early childhood education for children aged 0-6 years old. Dr Betty Chan Po-king chaired the symposium’s organising committee, and actively promoted exchanges among early childhood education professionals in the Hong Kong SAR, the Chinese mainland, and internationally.

In parallel with the steady progress and advancement of early childhood education theory and practice in the Chinese mainland, the YCYW’s approach to ECE philosophy has also garnered widespread recognition. Building upon Yew Chung’s success, Yew Wah International Education Schools, Yew Wah International Education Kindergartens, Yew Wah Infant and Toddler Education Centres, and Yew Wah Infant and Toddler Discovery Centres have been established in a number of cities in the Chinese mainland. Yew Chung College of Early Childhood Education has also been established in the Hong Kong SAR. It stands as the first and only degree-awarding institution in Asia dedicated to early childhood education and the nurturing of ECE professionals.

Through decades of evolution and refinement, YCYW has crafted a distinctive early childhood education pedagogy tailored to China. It harmoniously blends traditional Chinese Confucianism with John Dewey’s Western theory of “Progressive Education”. The YCYW pedagogy is deeply rooted in Chinese cultural traditions and values, yet embraces a global perspective, rendering it unique among international early childhood education pedagogies. Dr Stephanie C. Sanders-Smith from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in the US, conducted extensive research on the Yew Chung pedagogy, and wrote The Yew Chung Approach to Early Childhood Education. The English version was published by Routledge, a prominent academic publisher, and the Chinese version has been published and distributed by Chung Hwa Education (a subsidiary of Chung Hwa Book Company).

“Today, we are delighted to announce the release of the simplified Chinese version of this book,” Dr Betty Chan Po-king said. “This not only signifies that early childhood education theories developed in China through practical experience have received international recognition, but also that the wisdom of the Chinese people can contribute to the development of global education.”

In her keynote address “China Leads the Way in Moral-centric Education”, Madam Li Xiaolin praised the Yew Chung pedagogy, describing it as a holistic, child-centred educational approach that prioritises not only the acquisition of knowledge but also well-rounded development. She summarised its essence as: “Respect individuality and adapt teaching according to abilities. Stimulate interest to unlock potential. Create an environment that promotes creativity and innovation.”

In his speech, Professor Ren Junhua emphasised that high-quality early childhood education is crucial for national development and the future of China. He underscored the importance of early childhood teaching to incorporate the best practices from both domestic and international contexts, particularly in the face of deepening cultural exchanges. Acknowledging the innovative approach of the YCYW ECE pedagogy, Professor Ren Junhua said, “Its distinctive ECE pedagogy, which integrates Eastern and Western principles, represents an innovative response to the national imperative for advancing ECE education in China.”

Professor Shi Ping led the team that translated The Yew Chung Approach to Early Childhood Education into Chinese. During the seminar, she elaborated on the uniqueness of the Yew Chung ECE pedagogy, emphasising the use of China’s rich traditional cultural resources to cultivate talent in a multicultural and multilingual learning environment to address contemporary global issues. This is also the essence of international education in contemporary China.

She concluded by noting, “The Yew Chung pedagogy serves as a continual reminder, emphasising that drawing on external resources—e.g., progressive educational philosophies—is meaningful only when the pedagogy is firmly rooted in Chinese values. Consequently, we believe that the Yew Chung pedagogy can offer important insights and guidance for colleagues interested in early childhood education and international educational practices.”

In her address, Madam Zhu Muju recognised the significance of the Yew Chung 12 Values, and highlighted recent achievements in the reforms of kindergartens in the Chinese mainland. She remarked, “The Yew Chung educational principles align with the early childhood education reforms advocated by the Chinese Government. Kindergartens in the Chinese mainland have dedicated years to learning and exploration, resulting in the improved quality of education, progress in the professionalism of teachers, and increased family engagement. The kindergartens are committed to advancing the holistic development of children, in cooperation with Yew Chung. “

Dr Xu Xuejun delivered the closing speech on behalf of the organisation. He underscored that the trajectory of China’s ECE practice conforms with the nation’s overall progress and development. The YCYW ECE pedagogy fosters the curiosity and exploration of children, contributing to the cultivation of a young generation with an innovative spirit and global perspective. This approach resonates with the nation’s initiative to promote high-quality early childhood education.

In recent years, the Chinese Government has issued important policy documents such as the “14th Five-Year Action Plan for the Development and Improvement of Pre-school Education” and “Guidelines for Evaluating the Quality of Early Childhood Care and Education”. Dr Chan noted that YCYW has always aligned with the direction of the country and is committed to contributing to China’s development of early childhood education. We hope that the publication of simplified Chinese version of The Yew Chung Approach to Early Childhood Education can make further contributions towards this goal.

Media enquiries: media@ycyw.cn

ABOUT YCYW EDUCATION NETWORK

An education pioneer with deep roots in Hong Kong, China, Yew Chung Yew Wah (YCYW) encapsulates a unique educational pedigree that combines the best of Chinese and Western cultures with a mission to raise competent, compassionate globally aware leaders who strive for a better world.

Visionary educator Madam Tsang Chor-hang founded the first Yew Chung school and kindergarten in Hong Kong in 1932. In the 1970s, Dr Betty Chan Po-king picked up her mantle to provide high quality bilingual education. In the 1990s, Yew Chung was invited to Shanghai and Beijing to open schools for expatriate communities on the Chinese mainland. Madam Tsang was ably succeeded by her daughter Dr Betty Chan Po-king along with her husband Professor Paul Yip Kwok-wah, who later founded Yew Chung Yew Wah Education Network to prepare Chinese and expatriate students to make lifelong contributions on the international stage.

With nearly a century of educational dedication, the YCYW family now offers a complete education from early childhood to tertiary. The extensive network of Yew Chung International Schools, Yew Chung College of Early Childhood Education, Yew Wah International Education Schools, Yew Wah Schools, Yew Wah International Education Kindergartens, Yew Wah Infant and Toddler Discovery Centres, and the Yew Wah Infant and Toddler Education Centre span locations as diverse as Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Qingdao, Yantai, Tongxiang, Silicon Valley in the US and Somerset in the UK, providing quality education and growth opportunities to more than 13,000 teachers and students worldwide each year.

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