Hong Kong, China, December 17, 2018 /Xinwengao.com/ - Yew Chung College of Early Childhood Education (YCCECE) is the first degree-awarding institution in Asia to specialise in Early Childhood Education (ECE), creating the first specialist play-based learning hub – “Discovery Space” – in Hong Kong for families and birth to age 8, serving as an innovative platform for parent education, community engagement, teacher training and professional development, as well as academic research

Established in 1932 by Madam Tsang Chor-hang, Yew Chung has always been synonymous with high quality education in Hong Kong. Dr. Betty Chan Po-king, daughter of Madam Tsang and a local pioneer in Early Childhood Education (ECE), was the first in Hong Kong to introduce the revolutionary concept of learning through play since the 1970s. Yew Chung College of Early Childhood Education (YCCECE), a member of the Yew Chung Education Foundation, an established non-profit Association in Hong Kong, offers a Bachelor of Education (Honours) degree in ECE starting from the 2018/2019 academic year. The newly founded specialist institution continues Yew Chung’s ECE legacy of 86 years, by nurturing a new generation of passionate and innovative ECE educators for Hong Kong. As part of their dedicated efforts to promote quality learning through play, the College proudly announces the debut of an expert-designed play space – the Discovery Space. The on-campus facility, designed for children from birth to eight and their teachers, parents or caregivers, cultivates a positive attitude towards learning, and challenges children’s cognitive, social-emotional and physical development in a stimulating and enjoyable environment.
Aiming to create synergies between academic research, pre-service and in-service teacher training, as well as community engagement and play-based learning lab, the Discovery Space with its unique designs encourages young children to engage in high quality experiential learning, promoting the best practices in ECE that Yew Chung firmly believes in. As the teachers, parents or caregivers bond with the children at the facility, they naturally learn the pedagogical skills of play-based learning, which will inspire them in their professional or parenting journey beyond the grounds of the Discovery Space. The hub also offers an excellent opportunity for YCCECE students to gain valuable first-hand experience on top of their Practicum, enabling them to immediately bridge theory and practice by consolidating their learning through child observations and interactions, conduct research, and preparing them to flourish as early childhood educators. The Discovery Space will be open to all ECE centres or children and their families, regardless of socioeconomic background, ethnicity, individual abilities or other diverse needs.

As the first of its kind in Hong Kong, YCCECE spent many months on the conceptual designs, taking inspiration from South Korea, Singapore, and Australia, and seeking advice from many international and local ECE experts, including those from Special Education, Infant and Toddler, as well as professional artists. The outdoor area of Discovery Space boasts an interactive garden where children can experience the nuances and textures of the natural world, seeing the world from different perspectives while playing on the climbing frame or wall, roaming over the playground on bikes, creating a whole new city in the sand box or having a first taste of archaeology, or learning about mathematics and science in the water exploration area.

The indoor section offers a space where children can discover and develop their talents and interests. From the Junk Boat interactive zone, the Bamboo frame construction corner, the thematic role-playing room, the MTR area with panels and passenger car, the mini theatre where children can showcase their dramatic talents, to the instrumental wall that caters for musical creativity and performance, the possibilities are endless.
Thanks to a generous donation from a local philanthropic foundation that has pledged lead gift of HK$40 million to YCCECE, which will fund capital projects, including the Discovery Space, this innovative play space on the Aberdeen campus will be open to the public in June 2019. As a non-profit institution serving a wide spectrum of students and families, the College is actively seeking support for their vision and aspiration to democratize quality Early Childhood Education, sharing their expertise through teacher training, research, and parent/community education and outreach.
Dr. Betty Chan, Chairperson of the YCCECE Board of Governors, remarked, “Following the educational principles, vision and pioneering spirit of my late mother, Madam Tsang Chor-hang, Founder of Yew Chung Schools, we have never ceased to provide and promote high quality education, and now have the opportunity to do so at the Bachelor degree level. Being a specialist in Early Childhood Education, I am acutely aware of its critical and lasting impact on children’s development and indeed their life trajectories. The creation of our Discovery Space on campus is therefore of great significance and will allow us to share our play philosophy and pedagogy much more widely with the entire Hong Kong community – whether practitioners, parents, or policymakers, raising public awareness and serving as a living ECE laboratory for our students, faculty and other collaborators, both locally and overseas. Despite being a veteran in this field, I remain deeply excited at the prospects of building greater bridges between research, policy, and practice, and witnessing the rise of a new generation of innovative and passionate early childhood educators, as well as inspired and skilled parents and caregivers who will together fundamentally transform our society.”

To further discuss and explore ECE topics on play-based learning with local educators and parents, Professor Kathy Sylva, member of YCCECE Board of Governors and Professor of Educational Psychology and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Oxford Department of Education, will be visiting Hong Kong and giving a public talk on 22nd January 2019.

Yew Chung College of Early Childhood Education (YCCECE), a registered non-profit institution, was established in July 2018. It is an upgrade of the Yew Chung Community College (YCCC), which was started by the Yew Chung Education Foundation (YCEF) in 2008. The success of the upgrade is grounded on the impressive track record of YCCC and Yew Chung’s 86+ years of experience in Early Childhood Education (ECE). YCCECE aims to nurture passionate and innovative early childhood education professionals who can advocate and bring about improvement in the field, and seeks to be recognised in Hong Kong and in the Asia-Pacific region as an ECE hub for its excellence. In order to be a tertiary institution of excellence, YCCECE brought in world-renowned ECE academics and local ECE leaders as advisors and consultants. Its teaching faculty is hired from all over the world to provide international perspectives and experiences. Its student body is also multi-cultural and from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. YCCECE offers Bachelor of Education (Honours) in Early Childhood Education (BEdECE), Higher Diploma in Early Childhood Education programme (HDECE) and Diploma in Early Childhood Studies programme (DECS). As part of the commitment to academic excellence, YCCECE is also committed to serving the wider community and sharing good practices. The Discovery Space (DS) at its Aberdeen campus, which is an interactive play space specifically designed for children aged 0 to 8 years old and their accompanying adults will welcome children from all our communities. Through expert facilitation by DS staff, children and adults will be liberated by true learning through play.