A School for Confident, Caring & Curious Young Learners

By That's Shanghai, April 11, 2023

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Looking for an Early Childhood Education (ECE) program that will immerse your child in a supporting, bilingual learning environment? One where co-teachers work together with parents to develop confident, caring and curious young learners?

At Yew Chung International School (YCIS), they recognize that every student is a lifelong learner, and their focus during these formative early years is on whole-child development, building character foundations and personal and social values that will support students for life.

The Yew Chung Approach


Founded in 1932 by Madam Tsang Chor-hang, the Yew Chung Approach has been evolving for almost a century.

Rooted within a hybrid of Eastern Confucianism philosophies and Western Deweyan progressive educational values, it is underpinned by current socio-cultural and educational research.

Offering a unique approach to developing global citizenship, curriculum, learning and teaching experiences, it is articulated through the 12 Values Approach, which prioritizes the holistic development of a child.

The Twelve Values


School founder Madam Tsang Chor-hang had a unique vision to educate students beyond the classroom and to instill a sense of societal consciousness.

A family mission, this vital work has been built upon by her daughter – and current CEO and Director of Yew Chung Education Foundation – Dr Betty Chan Po-king.

In 2012, Dr Betty Chan Po-king commissioned Dr Stephanie Sanders-Smith of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL (UIUC) and her research team to undertake empirical data research. The data collected found that were 12 unique values that were consistent within their approach to early years education.

These values are unique to Yew Chung, and form the foundation within which their play-based and emergent curriculum rests.

Within the 12 Values Approach, there is a powerful interconnection between three dimensions: Interaction, Environment and Evolution.



Quality learning processes and experiences happen best when children feel a strong sense of belonging, value and connection with their peers, teachers, and school.

The strength of relationships support character formation and curriculum outcomes; the quality of the emergent curriculum outcomes is dependent upon the quality of relationships that are nurtured and built with respect and intention.

This in turn impacts the diverse and productive educational experiences on offer.



YCIS environments are the third teacher, and cater for holistic development, value diversity, and provide children with ample time and opportunity to explore and take risks.

When community members feel visible and respected, and their unique talents are valued, it improves the overall interactions and progress towards evolution.

YCIS environments give children an acute sense of place, purpose, and connection.



Evolution relates to the process of individual growth and inner transformation, which applies to all members of the whole school community.

In YCIS learning and teaching practices, it is through connection to each other and the wider world that invites the process of inner transformation in the child and teacher.

The Yew Chung Approach promotes a growth mindset as they take on the role of active researcher; to be self-reflective, collaborative and make discoveries about educational philosophies and pedagogical praxis.

At YCIS, they believe all are active participants and agents of change with the power to act with self-determination and compassion for positive change in the world.

Truly Bilingual


YCIS is a truly bilingual school, with two teachers in the classroom – one international and one local – while children from a third language background are given space for that language too.

It is a multilingual approach that creates and provides broader, co-cultural perspectives and experiences, and makes for a innovative and dynamic curriculum experiences. 

Learning Through Play


In Shanghai, you and your children are residing in one of the most culturally diverse and interesting cities in the world. May as well make the most of it, right?

The Yew Chung Approach agrees, recognizing the rich opportunities that international and co-cultural perspectives and experiences present, it utilizes a play based, emergent curriculum that encourages consistent curiosity, respectful engagements, and a growth mindset. 

Within The Twelve Values are contained four elements: 

1. Valuing the Child

All children are unique, capable and can be trusted to question, create, and invent. Learning starts with an emergent interest, sometimes framed by a question.  

2. Relationships & Connection

YCIS prioritize relationship and connection building as a vital 21st Century skill. They recognize the world of tomorrow will need compassionate leaders with a servant’s heart who aspire to, and act for, a better world.

3. Teaching & Learning

Knowledge is constructed through collaborative engagements, experimentation and innovation with teachers and other children.  

4. Making Contributions to the World

Children apply their knowledge and understanding of the world to solve social and academic problems. 

YCIS Facilities


As outlined above, YCIS recognizes that environments are the third teacher, and affect a child’s learning and development in profound ways.

At YCIS, they utilize both indoor and outdoor environments, promoting free flow of play, keeping materials and resources rich, open-ended, and engaging for all children.

As YCIS parent Maca says below:

"The school facilities fit the kids' needs. Early Years classrooms are full of different stations to develop their interests. From the library to the gym to the outside playground – all very well equipped." 

Passionate Teachers


At YCIS, they recruit teachers who share their passion and values. With international school experience and multicultural perspectives as a must, they are highly-educated and experienced in play-based learning philosophies and relational pedagogies, and selected for their embodiment of The Twelve Values in their teaching practices.

Parent Testimonials 


Qin Ling is a parent of a boy in K2. A Shanghai native, he volunteers as a parent rep, helping to guide his classes parents with relevant school information. He is also a member of the school Food Committee at Regency Park campus and recently joined the Parent Ambassadors to support the school strategies and priorities. 

"I strongly agree with the Yew Chung education philosophy that each child is unique.

"My son's teachers write up their assessments based on their observation of my child, and, when I read these words, they vividly depict a unique boy who is so different to other kids. It makes you truly appreciate the teachers, and my wife and I just love them.

"As for the parents' community, I saw that is was so active and dynamic that I decided to get involved. I participate in New Parents meetings, sharing my take-away to others. We share our thoughts on the books in Reading Club, we performed on stage in front of all Early Years kids during Chinese New Year, and we worked on the Art Project with Ms. Haruka.

"We wouldn't have had any of these great experiences without the efforts of the community organizers and, once again, it is greatly appreciated.

"At YCIS, kids receive a systematic education over a long period of time; you should not measure their success by their academic achievement, or the ranking of a sports game.

"YCIS is building the foundation of a young person, from independence to dilligence, from kindness to intelligence.

"One day, you will be proud of your kids, and also proud of yourself because of the decision you made to send them to YCIS."


Maca is a parent of a girl in K4 and a boy in Primary. Hailing from Chile, she is a great advocate of highlighting cultural diversities through food, dress-up and learning about each other's countries, and led a very successful Global Child Day.

She has been a parent rep since she joined YCIS, and is a member of the POP Core Committee and the Food Committee with Qin Ling. She always tries to bring fun learning opportunities for the kids, and cares deeply about the teachers' happy experiences.

"From the Early Years education level, YCIS has dedicated their school academic development knowing that the most common way of learning at their age is through play.

"For us, as a third language family, the school approach is fantastic; teachers give the children space for their own language, and encourage them to start learning English and Chinese.

"YCIS is a 100% bilingual school. Kids learn both Chinese and English from the first day, with two teachers in the classroom  – one international and one local – and that is the most important characteristic, considering that we live in China.

"And what is most impressive about this is that the children learn in the same steps as everyone and enjoy their learning life at school. 

"Back home, every day we see new things that our children have learned at school. It could be a Chinese song, the English alphabet, numbers, the fact they are able to speak to local people, to express themselves in three languages. At their young age, it is really amazing!

"YCIS teachers are very talented; young yet experienced, they are open to listen, participate and colaborate... and not only with academic activities. We can see that teaching is their passion.

"The school facilities fit the kids' needs. Early Years classrooms are full of different stations to develop their interests. Library, gym, outside playground – all very well equipped.

"Finally, when the time came for my son to transition from Early Years to Primary, the ECE team has a very nice process in which parents participate

"They walk us around introducing us to the campus, the classrooms, cafeteria, and all the different places our children will spending time during school, and there was a well prepared workshop where we got to meet the teachers and see the activities that the children would do from their first day of primary."

Special thank you to:

  • YCIS Pudong ECE Leadership Team: Rainbow Duan & Miriam Shah

  • YCIS Pudong K4 Team Leader:Emmalene McKay & Zoe Zhang

  • YCIS Pudong Parent Rep: Maca Pedrero & Qin Ling

April 2023 YCIS Shanghai Open Days

Head along for a YCIS Shanghai Open Day for your chance to:

  • Experience a lesson with co-teachers in a classroom, specialist room or outdoors

  • Learn about the YCIS curriculum during a customized school tour

  • Meet and mingle with the YCIS Leadership and Co-teaching Team (this is the perfect time to ask questions!)

Scan the QR on the poster below to sign up now:


[All images courtesy of YCIS Shanghai]

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