YCIS Staff Reflect on Chinese New Year

Written by Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer

Since we had some of our staff and students sharing about their Christmas stories, we asked other members of our school community to share about their Chinese New Year story! We hope you find it interesting.

It started with Year 6 teachers sharing with me these fun stories:

“In my childhood, for Chinese New Year, with some friends, we would use a pair of big scissors to curl our hair, you know the type of tool the street cleaner uses to pick-up leaves on the pavement. Girls were usually very excited about it, as it was like dressing-up for the celebration! Now I know that it is not ideal for the hair as it is burning it.”  Joan Shen, Year 6 Teacher 

Let’s see how this is celebrated in Perth, Australia!

“ With a large population of expat Chinese living in Perth, Western Australia, the Chinese New Year is celebrated every year. In a city-centre adjacent suburb called Northbridge we have a “Chinatown” warren of restaurants and shops in some laneways off the main street (James Street). During Chinese New Year these laneways are decorated with even more lighting and lanterns than usual and on the day of Chinese New Year these decorations spill out onto the main street which is blocked off into a pedestrian mall so other Chinese restaurants and shops from all over Perth can set up street stalls and carts. Local Kung Fu schools perform dragon dances. All are welcome to come and sample the sights, smells and tastes of the celebration” – Erin Hardie, Interim Primary Library Teacher.

Quick intro about Chinese New Year Celebration by some of our YCIS Staff

“The Spring Festival, commonly known as the “Chinese New Year”, is the most important traditional festival in China. When I was a child, I liked the new year, because there were new clothes to wear. There were lots of delicious food, fun and money.

Usually before the Chinese New Year, the family began to get busy with cleaning and preparing a variety of special purchases for the Spring Festival.

During the Spring Festival, the children and their parents went to “worship the year” with their parents and friends, and the adults chatted. The children were happy to play games and fire bamboos.” – Eva, Regency Park Campus Nurse

“ There is a famous saying in Chinese that we say at Chinese New Year! One – Happy New Year, Two – May you be happy and prosperous, Three – Give me a red envelope (hongbao)!  In China, it is a custom to give a hongbao. Since we were little, our parents and adults of the family would give us a hongbao to congratulate us for being one year older. In the past, birthdays were not celebrated. Everyone celebrated their birthday altogether at the Chinese New Year. Once we started to work, it was our turn to give a hongbao to our parents or grandparents to show that we had grown up and we were able to take care of ourselves. Then once married, we do not receive hongbao anymore as we have created our own family! This is our turn to give! At work, usually the boss gives his employees a hongbao to thank them for their hard work. This is just a custom that Chinese people have, the same way Western people give cards or presents to express their gratitude 🙂! ” – Bus drivers

“On Chinese New Year Eve, we offer donations to our ancestors. On the table, we display eight different meat dishes, which is for our ancestors to come eat.  After the ancestors have eaten, it is our turn as a family to have dinner.” – Wu Ayi, Cleaning Ayi


“ Food is a big element of the celebration. According to your situation, you had more or less food on the table of the Chinese New Year table. However, what was the most important was to have dumplings and fried fish (yu-fish) – which is a homophone of yu-remainder to reflect the expression “May you always get more than you wish for”.
We loved the busyness of this festival with all the firecrackers, especially on the fifth day of the Chinese New Year to honor the God of Wealth. Nowadays, in Shanghai this is not allowed anymore because of air and sound pollution. The only firecrackers that are allowed are the electronic ones, but the sound is very low. Now, we are not even able to know when there is a wedding happening.”  – Cleaning Ayis

“In my childhood, for Chinese New Year, we used to get some small but interesting fireworks. Children were usually very excited about it, I was! This was the happiest moment for me to play these with my friends.” – Hayes Han, Support Division

“When I was a child, on the fifth day of Chinese New Year, my family would turn all the lights on, hang the picture of the God of Wealth on the door, and set off the firecrackers downstairs. According to the  Chinese custom, the God of Wealth will visit the loudest, lightest home and bring wealth to them.” –  Junnan Chen (Kevin), IT engineer

“In my time, we used to get new clothes only for Chinese New Year. Every family invited a tailor to come to our place, because clothes were not available in the stores. Usually, it was material that our mom was re-using to make something new out of it. We were always very excited to see what we would get.”  – Xiao Feng, Ayi Leader

“ I remember that every year on the night of Chinese New Year Eve, everyone in the family bathed in the leaves of grapefruit, meaning to wash away the bad luck of the past year and welcome the new year!” – Iris, ECE Nurse

“ I really enjoy Chinese New Year because it is the time to rest and spend time with the family! In our village all the young men would get together to prepare nian gao, a special cake for the festival. We had to prepare it from the very beginning: stirring the dough in a huge casserole, then mashing it to make it softer. Once a person was tired, the next one would come in to hit on the dough. It was hard work. Then, another team was making some smaller shapes, usually fish shape to represent the expression “nian, nian you yu”. And then, children would add the last touch, which was to put a red dot on it, to bring luck!” – Qian Shifu, Regency Park Campus Engineer

“ When I was a child, we never went to the restaurant. During Chinese New Year, we would prepare all the food at home. Therefore, we had to start very early to get prepared for this very important celebration that is Chinese New Year. In general, we had to start at least one month ahead to do bacon and put salt in the pork.

Some days before Chinese New Year Eve, all the adults of the family were busy making egg dumplings, fish, soy duck, eight treasure rice cake, etc. As all of these were the basic dishes that had to be on the dinner table of the celebration. I usually stayed in the kitchen observing the adults busy with preparing all these dishes, because they were also letting me taste some of it at the same time!” – Wang Yi, Assistant Supervisor of Support Division

“ In my village (xiangxia), our family all get together to go and worship our ancestors. We have all the same surname, because we come from the same ancestors. Mine is called “Yao”. We enjoy the time we spend together eating, drinking, playing. My favourite food is the one we cook in this huge pan that we can cook on the big fire. You would never find a similar taste as the hongshao rou (meat cooked with special soya sauce) and caifan (mixed vegetable rice).” –  Yao Shifu, Bus Driver

“In my home town, every year for the Chinese New Year, the strict minimum to do is to get all the family together to worship our ancestors both on Chinese New Year’s Eve (also called 30th of the big day) and on the 15th day after Chinese New Year (called Lantern Festival). Every year, this is the busiest period of the year for the family: we will bring all the favorite food and things for our ancestors. When I was a child, what I enjoyed the most was to go to relatives to drink a special wedding drink, because as a child I could get a lot of hong bao! Even if I would then give then to my mom, I was still very excited and very happy to receive them!” – Vicky Ji, Library Assistant

“ When I was little, on the day of the Chinese New Year celebration, I would eat dinner extremely fast to be ready to get my grandfather’s hongbao. This was to wish us a happy new year and to stay in good health. My parents would always tell me: Once you have finished your food, you will be one year older, so you will have to study even better, ok? Dad and mum would also put some yellow soya beans in our rice. If you ate one of them, this would mean that this year would bring you even more luck!” – Anson Lu, Supporting Division, Supervisor (PD Campus)

“ My hometown is in Chongming. I remember that at Chinese New Year Eve, we had to welcome the god of kitchen. On the table of the kitchen, there was a lot of food and we burned incense. As soon as we were asleep, my mom put the new clothes next to my bed and a red envelop under my pillow. This way, on the first day of Chinese New Year, as soon as I was up, I could wear my new clothes and go to the temple to pray.” – Zhu Shifu, Bus driver

“For us, the most important is to be able to be with our family for this festival. If your family lives in Shanghai, this is quite convenient to go back home to celebrate the event together. However, if you are from another province and you need to stay here your wife and child come to Shanghai to celebrate the event with you!” – Century Park Campus Guards

“ For me as a child, Chinese New Year was the happiest festival of the year: I could get new clothes, I could get hong bao and I could see fireworks! For me as an adult, this is kind of a sad festival, because it may mean that this can be the last time I would see some members of my family.” – Laura Yao, Library Coordinator

“Although holidays haven’t started yet, I cannot wait to go back home. In my heart, Chinese New Year has the taste of home and love. It will allow you to re-charge your energy fully, adjust your state and be prepared to start a new year. The memory of the past year of the scene often emerges in the mind:

On Chinese New Year’ Eve, we would eat red date soup, clean the house very neatly and put the two posters on the door (chuanlian) as well as the word “Fu” which means happiness. We would display on the table all the special purchases we made for the Spring Festival. In the evening the whole family will gather to have a new year’s dinner. At midgnight, fireworks would start. The beginning of the year is to begin to visit friends and relatives, and children can collect red bags everywhere.” – Dana, Century Park Campus Nurse

Coming from a Chinese-background family, I already had some insights about the Spring festival but now I have a deeper understanding of why every year at that time, my parents were going to Chinese stores to buy a lot of Chinese food to display on the table as a banquet to worship our ancestors. We had to leave the door open so that their spirit could come in the house to eat. I recall it was also the time to visit all the relatives and friends and we used to receive many hongbaos. Adults seem to be all very happy and houses were usually very busy. What I enjoyed the most was when I was a college student and could bring my foreign friends to go and see the dragon parade visiting all Chinese restaurants and watching children performing kung-fu in the street. This was a very lively and busy time of the year in that 13th district of Paris, that is why I could not wait to see how this was celebrated in China itself!

Now, I understand that Chinese New Year is more a family village celebration than a whole city celebration. It also helped me reflect on the value of food, clothes, family and home. Thank you for sharing!

Chinese New Year Celebration at YCIS

Written by Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer

In the January newsletter, we had a staff focus on our Heads of Chinese Department from ECE, Primary and Secondary. The interview was preceded by a great discussion about how Chinese New Year is prepared and celebrated by our students, our teachers and the whole community! This is what they had to say about Chinese New Year events at YCIS.

Click here to see photos for ECE & Primary and here to see photos for Secondary.

  • How is Chinese New Year celebrated at YCIS?

Michelle: The Chinese New Year Celebration happens every year. This is part of the bilingual curriculum, which is not only about language but culture as well.

In ECE, the traditional Chinese costumes are introduced to our young children, children will participate traditional activities. They dress up in traditional dresses and also enjoy the traditional Chinese dances.

We spend one and a half week before the Chinese New Year to talk about by introducing 12 Zodiac, the traditional way of how people celebrate the Chinese New Year.Every year level focus on different activities according to their developmental levels:

  • K2s learn to sing Chinese songs,
  • K3s dance and make traditional crafts
  • K4s make fans and use chopsticks and explore to write calligraphy.

There is an internal celebration party between children and teachers. Parents are invited to the classroom activities such as reading a story, doing an activity, creative art, making dumplings and so on.

Sissy: Students learn Spring festival in Chinese Studies lessons along with some year-level celebration activities like introducing the festival and its costume, learning Chinese New Year songs and making dumplings… But the learning period of this celebration culminates with the Annual Chinese New Year Family Celebration Day that takes place at last Friday night! This is the 2nd year that we make the Celebration event being a project-based learning, which means that it is not an event organized by Chinese teachers only, but it involves all class teachers and subject teachers as well as students. Everyone takes part of the project to feel involved and get excited about the event. While Year 1 to Year 5 teachers and students choose the theme to decorate their classroom board for which parents will be able to vote, all specialist teachers offer theme-related activities: students explore all the cities with Minecraft in ICT class, they do some paper-cutting in Art, and some dog jungle games in PE class and as usual they read about Chinese New Year related stories during Library time.

R: What is different this year?

Year 6 students who are connected to Secondary schedule and program for their transition, are more involved in the community service. They are able to share what they learn and show their leadership to other year level students. During Chinese Culture Day, they were in charge for this. During that night, they assisted the teachers. Also, the performance part that usually includes music teachers’ performance and student performances from CCA Chinese Dance had a new item this year with a parent performance to complete the whole school community picture!


The meaning of the Chinese New Year is: “United with your family, share the happiness”! Family is the core of the celebration. Therefore, we want to make sure that students and parents can enjoy this moment at school together.

Amy: In Secondary, on Friday we celebrated Chinese New Year at Century Park with an afternoon full of fantastic performances and many different activities for our annual House Competition. All week, students were busy preparing creative performances with their Houses to represent elements of Chinese culture and celebrate the Lunar New Year. More information will click here. https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/gEO-KlidcXfu-wN1A-n3dg

To follow all the exciting news from YCIS Lower Secondary and YCIS Upper Secondary, scan the QR Code to subscribe!

YCIS Spirit Club

Written by Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer

At the first POP Core members meeting, we all wrote down our wishes for the year 2017-2018 and one of Karen Shih’s wishes was that we could have a mascot or some cheering system to show how proud we were to be part of YCIS. Some days after, she joined a so-called “YCIS Spirit Club” and that was the starting point of her wish being granted!

1) Karen, can you explain: what is YCIS Spirit and what does it consist of?

YCIS Spirit is a group formed this year to promote school spirit among students, parents and staff. In some schools this would be called a booster club. One thing YCIS Spirit does is sell merchandise with school logos that anyone can wear or use to show their support for the school. We had a booth at the Christmas tree lighting and at several Christmas concerts in December selling shirts, notebooks and cups. Another thing we do is look for small but impactful ways to recognize Secondary students before significant sports events, music and drama performances and academic competitions. Some examples are, assembling goodie bags for a sports team or asking Primary students to write notes and draw pictures for Secondary students before an event.

2) Who is it composed of and how to join this group?

The group is open to any parent or staff member who want to support the school. It started with a group of Secondary parents, and now some Primary parents are also heavily involved with designing, ordering, and selling merchandise.

3) Where does this idea come from and what is the mission and vision?

The team was the idea of Janelle Garret, Lower Secondary Coordinator. This fall she recruited a few parents, including myself, to get the idea off the ground. The two goals of the group were to 1) recognize Secondary students before key events and 2) energize the YCIS community as a whole. We quickly joined forces with the POP Committee, and with their help, were able to design a logo, order merchandise, and hold our first pop-up sale at the Christmas Tree Lighting. It’s been a collaborative effort with lots of parents stepping up to volunteer and offer their talents. If this interests you, or you have new ideas for the team, we’d love to have you join!

4) Where can we find YCIS Spirit and how to contact?

Parents can look for YCIS Spirit merchandise to be sold at major school events. We don’t have dates locked in, but Global Child Day, Mad Run, parent-teacher conferences, or YCIS-hosted sporting events are the sorts of events where you might find the YCIS Spirit pop-up booth. Secondary students may also receive something from the Spirit team before a big sports, performing arts or academic event.  For questions or to join the team, you can contact Nadine Runkel or Janelle Garrett.

YCIS Students are involved in a variety of co-curricular activities from K4 to Year 13. Among those co-curricular activities, the students build a sense of belonging to a team such as the Orchestra, Choir and especially with the Sport teams in Primary (soccer teams, basketball teams, swimming teams, Australian football teams). In Secondary, our students become even more involved in their sport teams with the ACAMIS tournaments all year long or their different drama performances.

The students have been doing so well in the recent years that there seemed to be an urge to celebrate these successes and congratulate both students and coaches!

“YCIS Spirit or proud to be YCIS!” If you also want to promote YCIS spirit and help encourage and cheer on our students involved in sports, performing arts and other academic competitions, now you know what to do: join the club or buy some YCIS gear!

Love and Charity at YCIS

Written by Leo Lazo, Character Education Coordinator

Yew Chung International School of Shanghai endeavours to educate our students holistically. YCIS not only strives for academic excellence but also believes in the importance of giving our students a sense of responsibility for those who are not as fortunate.  Part of our school motto is “Love and Charity” and one way we promote this is through our Character Education programme. Since the devastating earthquake of 2008 that destroyed a large area of Sichuan, our school has actively pursued ways to help those in need. This month’s character trait is “Love” and what better way to express it than to give our students a chance to demonstrate “Love and Charity” during our Charity Week event which runs from January 22 – 26. Our students will be given a chance to share, help and give in a variety of ways. One such way is to help Huge Grace Orphanage. There are 30 children and all of them have disabilities in one way or another. Through my wife’s involvement with Huge Grace, YCIS has established a relationship with them and has generously donated items from the ECE department.

One of our goals for Character Education is for our students to have a personal involvement with the charity we support. As a result, Student Council members will be visiting Huge Grace Orphanage on January 30th. They will be performing a song in Chinese as well as providing a simple art and craft activity that the children can do. This will give our students the opportunity to see love in action as they share their talents with the children of Huge Grace.


Staff Focus: Our Chinese Coordinators

Written by Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer

Let’s meet Michelle Wang (ECE), Sissy Shen (Primary) and Amy Yang (Secondary), the heads of the respective Chinese Departments as we unravel the reasons for 4 consecutive years of IGCSE First in the World in Mandarin awards.

YCIS is known for keeping their teachers for a long period of time. Please tell me about your study background, how long you have been working at the school and what you have taught or which position you have occupied before?

Michelle: This is my 15th year (I joined in 2003) – I have a teaching degree in Early Childhood and my specialty was drawing. I liked water color painting and cartoon character drawing. I started at YCIS as K1 Teacher (at that time there was a class for 18 month children). Otherwise, I have taught every level K2, K3 up to K4 which allows me to fully support teachers in my role of ECE Coordinator. Apart from every child’s need being different, every key development stage also has their needs and specific areas of development.

Sissy: I have been teaching in YCIS for almost 10 years, and this is my 13th teaching year. I graduated from East China Normal University where I got the master degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages and my teaching degree in Childhood Education. I also have a bachelor degree in Administration and a vocational qualification of Psychological Consultant. I have taught from Primary Year 1 to Year 6 and I’m still teaching Year 6 Chinese. I enjoy spending some time in the classroom to teach, which helps me to understand more about students, optimize the curriculum and support teachers as well. I am passionate about pedagogy, psychology, international education and leadership. I think it’s very important to provide a holistic education for students, supporting their social and emotional development, as well as their academic development, to prepare them for the wider and longer experience of life. That’s why I love YCIS’s philosophy – to nurture the whole person and raise globally competent and compassionate leaders, and our school and the whole YCIS community put the philosophy into good practice.

Amy: This is my 13th year and 8th year as head of department. The reasons why I have enjoyed staying at our Pudong campus for such a long time are: Stable leadership team, low staff turnover and good professional relationship between western teachers and Chinese teachers. Every year, I have new experiences. I took an IB training and became an IB examiner together with my colleagues. I applied for Apple Distinguished Teacher with ICT teachers and try to apply those pedagogies to our CP iPad programme. Furthermore, I benefitted from the experiences of developing the Chinese curriculum and being involved in the Bi-cultural programme. CIS (Council of International Schools) invited me to be part of an accreditation team and I attended accreditations for schools in Hong Kong, Adelaide and Tasmania. Currently, I’m studying a Harvard online course together with 12 other staff in Secondary and during our school days, we are excited to share our interdisciplinary teaching strategies through our Pineapple Board (Peer Observation). So working in YCIS Pudong makes me stay humble and keeps me enthusiastic about learning and teaching. Furthemore, I also got opportunities to turn my hobbies of photography and visual designs into my expertise. I enjoy running Photography CCA and helping editing Secondary WeChat posts very much.

Thank you for sharing! And thank you Amy for already anticipating my second question! What do you like about YCIS? What keeps you at YCIS?

Michelle: I really like the ECE Programme, because it follows children’s interests and thus allows more learning opportunities for them. YCIS is a nice community to work in. ECE is like a family, a multi-cultural family. Different colleagues – different cultures. What makes it special is our Co-Teaching model that takes place all day long. Every day, we learn and experience how Western and Eastern culture work together and most importantly, we are a role model to the children who will be living in this global world.

Sissy: I like YCIS for the unique bilingual environment and structure. As Chinese teachers, we do not only teach about Chinese language but we are also a main teacher and we teach and learn about world education. I really enjoy learning from all my colleagues both the international and Chinese teachers. All knowledge learnt is valuable. You see, in the school, I get to use all my different skills and interest: management, communication, teaching, design, dancing and even drama skills!

Amy: I would like to add that seeing students grow is what keeps me at YCIS too. When students are very young, you cannot see what they will become. But when you stay longer, you can see all seeds you may have planted grow and feel proud of them. What motivates me in teaching, is to see their achievement and amazing results, and you see them progress as a person. Also, at YCIS through the CAS programme and the CCAs, you can see the students who have built their own area of interest and develop their skills. Sharing my skills with the students is also something that I enjoy a lot!

Do you want to know something special about them?

Michelle is Shanghainese and before, people lived very close to each other because of the Shikumen building architecture. She was the oldest child in the building so during Summer holidays, she was taking care of all the other children of the building by organizing a lot of games. In her pastime, she enjoys reading stories all kinds of books. She also likes to travel. My favorite place is the Maldives because the view is a poster card view in real life: ocean, beach

Sissy had her first job in a local school where she questioned what real education might be. Then she wanted to change her career to be a psychological consultant and in 2008, after the massive earthquake in Sichuan, she went there to help some schools in remote areas. After she came back from Sichuan, she decided to join YCIS. Her different interests and studies converged in her current job position in the global education with YCIS. You never know what your future holds for you. Every step you make will take a shape, every choice you make will have a meaning. Do you know about the story of Steve Jobs and the Mac Fonts? An interest in a calligraphy class and work in a computer company! “Keep learning and experiencing new things. You never know how or when it may make an impact in the future.” https://www.leemunroe.com/steve-jobs-calligraphy/

Amy’s parents were both teachers and when she was a university student, she got a national scholarship! Her dedication in her personal interests in photography and visual design speak for themselves! If you don’t know about the photo committee, go and check the school photo gallery (password: RPCP). Also, the students’work will be printed in postcards and distributed as prizes during Chinese New Year House Competition! If you haven’t seen the CP Open Morning leaflet, go and check the Wechat Subscription for Lower and Upper Secondary!

Last but not least, both Amy and Sissy have been invited this year to Changshu to run workshops in a conference with more than 300 participants from other international schools!

Student Focus: A Y2 Student is Growing in Her Abilities in a Unique Olympic Sport!

Written by Andrea Griego, Student Support Coordinator

Teresa Pan in Y2B has been doing Rhythmic Gymnastics for a little over a year and a half, and although she is still a beginner, she has already participated in a competition here in Shanghai. Rhythmic Gymnastics differs from regular gymnastics because it combines gymnastics, ballet, and modern dance. Rhythmic Gymnastics is choreographed to music and performed with five apparatuses: ribbons, balls, ropes, hoops, and clubs. Teresa is currently learning balls and ribbons. They are easier than other three apparatuses and suitable for beginners.

Teresa said she asked her mom if she could try Rhythmic Gymnastics and her mother agreed seeing that most participants looked strong and fit. I asked Teresa what she liked most about Rhythmic Gymnastics, and as many Year 2 students would answer, Teresa said, “I like my teacher the most because she teaches me lots of things.” Teresa is proud of the fact that she can train for up to three hours at a time, can do a hand stand and has friends in her class of different ages.


During Teresa’s first competition she was part of the group events and received a Silver award. She is currently training for her next competition in August and will begin intensive training nearer to the competition. This intensive training will be important as she will be preparing for individual events on ball and ribbon. Apart from the completive side of the sport, Teresa and her mother agree that it is good for fitness and building body control. Because of the techniques used in Rhythmic Gymnastics, Teresa has also seen rapid growth in her ballet skills and figure skating as well.

How Do We Better Protect the Environment?

Witten by: Marcus Tan (Y13)

Times are changing- Never before has humanity been so close together, and yet at times, so divided. A rise in nationalism and an “us versus them” mentality has taken a choke hold on human society (leaving many of our leaders transfixed on the idea of being richer than the rest), plans to save the earth have been brushed aside. Our leaders have pondered, and promises have been made, but little has actually happened to work towards saving the planet.

Millions upon millions of metric tons of plastic have been dumped into our oceans, killing wildlife and severely impacting the livelihood of coastal cities. Climate change continues to melt the polar ice caps, making sea levels rise enough to threaten populations and driving many beautiful artic animals to extinction. The Great Barrier Reef- one of the seven natural wonders of the world- is in critical condition, with corals dying at an unprecedented rate.

What can we do? Individually, not much. However, change will be wrought when every single individual in a society plays their own, little part towards the betterment of the planet. The most important thing to do is to recognize the fact that our planet, and all of its marvelous creations, are in danger. You know this, and you might agree. But the moment you put this article down, everything I have written about may be shelved away, forgotten, and we will carry on with our lives, believing that somebody else will save the planet for you. One could call this delusional thinking, because that “somebody else” probably has somebody else in mind as well.

We must stop using luxuries we can live without- plastic straws, disposable bottles, cutlery, microbeads, and bags are brilliant executioners of both marine life and the tourism industry.

In YCIS, we have an Environmental Awareness Committee that aims to spread understanding and educate students on such issues. Over the past year, we’ve raised money for tree planting, put up posters around the school to educate and persuade, spoke at assemblies, and made plans for future events we can host, such as documentary screenings to further spread awareness. We’ve gotten students to genuinely care about our earth, and that is no small achievement for they are the future of this world.

I feel that, for now, we as students are attempting to do our part. It is now time for the grown-ups to do the same.

Don’t forget, the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it

UN Global Goals In Action

Written by: Janelle Garrett, Lower Secondary Coordinator

The United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals or UN Global Goals are the United Nation’s blueprint for achieving a happier and healthier world by 2030. They were designed with specific targets to be achieved in order to make real progress towards ending povertyprotecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all. In order for the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and ordinary people around the world…like each of us.

Driven by our commitment to global education at YCIS, our Century Park campus decided to focus on one of the UN Global Goals each month and challenge our students, staff, and community-at-large to learn about the UN Global Goal and find ways to ‘think globally and act locally’ to do our part to ‘be the change’ and manifest these goals in our own lives. Our student prefects have been charged with the task of introducing the UN Global Goal focus for each month at our Whole School assemblies as well as organizing activities and challenges around the goal to help us do our part and impact our world.

Through information shared in the assemblies, in our Daily News, and on display boards, and activities in the classroom and beyond in our CCAs (Co-Curricular Activities), student initiatives, and CAS (Community and Service) projects, our YCIS Pudong community is building a culture of global citizenship and action.

In Primary, teachers focused last Semester on the UN Global Goals and completed several activities in their classes as part of the United Nations’ World’s Largest Lesson initiative. In November, several of our Upper Primary and Lower Secondary students also participated in a full-day iCan Life Skills Tournament in November organized around helping students understand, organize and take action on the UN Global Goals.


In Lower Secondary, our Year 7-9 students took on a ‘Think Global, Act Local’ challenge around UN Global Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing. The Year 7s focused on our school community with our 30-Day Health Pledge challenge. The Year 8s organized a Walk-a-Thon to raise awareness about and raise funds for Heart to Heart Shanghai to help provide corrective heart surgery for children from all over China with congenital heart defects whose parents are unable to afford the surgery. The Year 9s focused on our world’s deadliest predators, the mosquito, saving lives with their Nothing But Nets project leading assemblies and organizing activities educating our community about malaria and raising enough funds to buy 65 malaria preventing treated mosquito nets for refugees in Eastern Africa.

A group of Year 10 Students, inspired by UN Global Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, came together as part of the Global Issues Network (GIN) and designed an ongoing project called STOP SINGLE USE SHANGHAI. Drawing attention to the massive, unsustainable environmental cost we pay for the convenience of single-use in terms of plastic waste, they are finding creative ways to tackle reducing single-use plastic usage at our school, raising awareness, taking action, and advocating for policy changes in our institution. Our students joined change-makers from international schools all over Asia January 20-21st at the GINAsia 2018 conference where they presented their project.

It is fantastic to see our students from Century Park Campus taking on these UN Global Goals and thinking globally and acting locally to make a difference in our world. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Scientists in Residence Visit YCIS 

Written by John McEnhill, Primary Curriculum Coordinator 

Last week we were excited to have a visit from Hong Kong based scientists, Sue and Cyrus. They work with our foundation as Scientists-in-Residence, sharing their love of Science with schools throughout the YCIS family. Sue and Cyrus came to work with some of our older Primary students, in Years 5&6, and some of our youngest students, in K4. This was a great opportunity to get hands on with practical Science, complementing the work done as part of the curriculum. Students were guided in conducting experiments with water. K4 learned about chromatography. It was great to hear such young children using scientific language in conversation with their teachers, with one student explaining how “the ink went to the bottom because it is heavier”. Year 5 carried out an experiment on water tension, which focused on changing one variable, while keeping all the others the same. The activity offered invaluable practice in carrying out the scientific method. Finally, Sue and Cyrus went to work with Year 6, conducting an experiment on water density. This provided preparation for the upcoming Year 6 Science Fair. Year 6 students were very excited to see the rainbow effect caused by mixing water of different densities, dyed different colours. 

Our next Science event is the STEM week at Century Park campus, with a range of Science themed activities for our Year 6 and Secondary Students. We hope that this, along with our regular curriculum, and events such as our Scientists’ visit, develop an appreciation and love of Science in all of our students. 

K4 Children Embrace CCAs

Written by Veronica Martin (ECE Coordinator)

YCIS has built a culture of balancing rigorous academic learning with opportunities for all students from ECE to Secondary to participate in extra activities that focus upon development of the whole child. Being given the chance to focus upon other interests in a social group, mixing with other children and teachers and further building their sense of belonging in at YCIS only adds to a child’s ability.

This year has seen the beginning of Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) in the ECE and over 70 K4 students are participating in this new program. The program is designed to offer a more direct learning platform for the children, to build skills in different areas and create opportunities for the children to discover new areas of enjoyment. Each week the K4 students have been able to participate in all of the exciting activities ranging from the energy of Zumba, to the creative expression of Origami and the logical thinking of chess and checkers games. The ECE CCAs are built on a system that allows every child to experience and develop news skills in many areas as they are exposed to a new activity.

As the children move to Year 1 they will be involved in more directed learning, in the ECE we have a less directed approach, as each child explores the learning in their own way with the direction of the teachers. The CCAs offer a balance between the two learning styles as the children get older and require the more directed approach.

Each Tuesday and Thursday the K4 students come to school with a bounce in their step as they anticipate the exciting day ahead, and then finish with a positive CCA class. As parents collect their child after the CCAs, you can hear many excited conversations going on about the Zumba dance, the food they made, the story they heard or the dance they learnt.