YCIS Pudong Looks to the Future at ‘Pudong 21’ Event

On the evening of Wednesday, January 16, 2019, parents, special guests from the Yew Chung Education Foundation Executive Board, faculty, staff, and students came together to celebrate the official launch of YCIS Shanghai Pudong’s three-year strategic plan. Titled ‘Pudong 21’, the plan sets out the school’s vision and focuses for YCIS Pudong’s development across a range of areas between now and the year 2021.

During the event, YCIS Pudong Co-Principals Mr Damien Hehir and Ms Mary Yu led a detailed presentation, giving the attendees the first glimpse at what YCIS Pudong has in store for its future developments over the coming years. The audience members were able to learn about the plans in place for the development of innovative learning spaces and campus facility enhancement, community engagement, programme development, and how the school is planning on augmenting its robust student well-being and leadership programmes. The Co-Principals outlined the objectives that have been set for the twelve taskforce teams in charge of focusing on these different areas.

Ms Yu spoke about how the strength of a long-term leadership team has laid a foundation for making solid plans. “A school needs to have sound policies and practices in place to ensure it runs smoothly. Of these, the most important are in the areas of child safety, curriculum, learning and teaching, and effective communication with the whole school community. Because of the stable leadership at YCIS Pudong over so many years, we can provide this,” said Ms Yu.

Mr Hehir reiterated the importance of having the students as the central focus of the plan. “The important thing for parents to know is that we have a plan for the future and we are working toward achieving goals that we believe will benefit our students, your children. Pudong 21 is a commitment to providing a forward-thinking, safe, innovative and collaborative environment for your children, and children who join YCIS Pudong in the years to come,” he said.

The evening was also an opportunity for members of the school community to discuss how YCIS has helped shaped their lives. Long-standing YCIS Pudong parents, Mr Bruce Robinson and Ms Tess Robinson, who have sent all three of their sons to YCIS, the youngest of whom will graduate in 2019, spoke about their experiences as part of the YCIS Pudong community over the past 14 years. The evening also featured video interviews with alumni, Mr Liping Lin (Class of 2012) and Ms Elizabeth Robinson (Class of 2018), who reflected on their personal experiences as students at the school for over two decades between them. Finally, there was a video presentation featuring current YCIS Pudong students talking about significant and meaningful experiences they have had during their time at the school.

After the presentations, attendees enjoyed a dinner reception during which they were able to chat with teachers and senior leaders about the school’s programmes, strategic plan, and to socialise with one another and share their excitement about the future of the school.

YCIS Pudong is clearly committed to furthering the enrichment of the world-class education that is being provided to our students, and Pudong 21 reflectsthis commitment. We would like to once again thank parents who were able to join the event, and we look forward to having additional opportunities to meet with everyone in our community to share more about this exciting vision for our future.

YCIS Spring Festival Spirit

 Written by: Sissy Shen, Primary Head of Chinese Department

The Spring Festival is a great traditional festival in China because of the involvement of the whole community. If you look at our Chinese Culture and New Year Celebration Week, you can certainly see our unique YCIS Spring Festival Spirit.

The first part of this spirit is warmth and inclusivity: studentsdecorate classrooms together with Chinese and international teachers. They wear traditional clothes, make dumplings and participate in cultural activities to explore the culture of our host country like one big family. No matter where you come from, you will feel at home in the YCIS community.

The second part of this spirit is harmony. If the Christmas celebration is the domain of the international teachers, then the leading role of the Chinese New Year must be taken by the Chinese teachers. The children watch the two class teachers naturally switch roles in different events, showing mutual understanding, communication, trust, and cooperation, sharing their different cultures for students. Students are learning all the time through what they see, feel and experience.

The third part of this spirit is the pursuit of excellence. From “good” to “excellent” is our goal at YCIS Pudong. We have combined the events of Chinese Culture Day and Chinese New Year Celebration Night from previous years into our first, Chinese Cultural Week. We have made this year even better for our students by invitinginexternal artists; seeking further parental involvement; providing students with voluntary service opportunities and enhancing the year levels’ cultural activities throughout the week.

The fourth part of this spirit is the notion of reunions and gratitude. We invite the whole community to our Chinese New Year Celebration Night on January 25 to enjoy valuable moments with family, friends and the whole community. We offer games, arts, performances, food, a quiz, prizes, fun photos…so much fun is waiting for you. We will also donate money from the day to the Heart-to-HeartCharity to share our love with those in need outside of YCIS.

Of course, the last part of this spirit is giving blessings:we wish you a Happy Year of the Pig! We believe that the future will be better and brighter, as long as we are together.

And finally: the Easter Egg we promised you: check out the Chinese New Year Greeting Song from all the ECE and Primary staff! Https://v.qq.com/x/page/s08168agj8v.htmlWe hope you enjoy it.


K4 to Year 1 Transition

Written by Veronica Martin, International ECE Coordinator and Michelle Wang, Chinese ECE Coordinator

Transition from the Early Childhood Education (ECE) programme, to the first year of Primary is a significant event in a young child’s life. While a child’s development is continuous and gradual, a move to a Year 1 class can be a little daunting, but it is also very exciting for the students as well.  We are very fortunate at YCIS Pudong in that our ECE and Primary are on the same site, meaning that resources are shared, staff are able to work together to make the transition smoother, and the environment in Primary is all very familiar to the ECE students.  In fact, the ECE students are taught by specialist teachers, Ms. Diana Dai (Music) and Mr. David Watson (Physical Education) who they will continue to see and work with in Primary.  The School Principals, Counsellor, English as an Additional Language (EAL) Teachers and Tech Director all spend time working with the ECE students as well as being involved with them once they move into Primary.

There are of course differences in the two programmes which the children will need to navigate as they make this transition. The ECE students will slowly be introduced to a more formal approach with whole- class instruction and subjects that they are not initially familiar with by name, but that they will have been prepared for in the ECE programme.   The Primary Year 1 teachers have in recent years adapted the Semester One programme to ensure that the change is gradual and that many of the approaches the children are familiar with continue.  We can assure parents that whilst Year 1 is a little more formal, the fun doesn’t stop and you can expect your children to continue coming home saying how much they love school.

Transition from ECE to Year 1 requires children to not only meet the expectations of more defined academic learning objectives, but also to be able to follow classroom directions more independently. Therefore, the transition is not just a matter of being ready academically but also being ready socially. In Semester 2, K4 Co-Teachers do make gradual changes to the schedule and routines, for example, cutting down on body rest, and increasing children’s independence and participating in some of the activities they will experience in Primary.  There are longer mat sessions and circle times, as well as some more directed tasks that the children need to complete each day. In class the children continually work on skills such as Mathematics, English, Chinese and their overall knowledge of the world.

Later in Semester 2, the K4 children start violin lessons which will continue in Year 1. The Primary EAL Teachers also work in the K4 classrooms to help prepare the K4s for Year 1 English, as well as get to know the students better.  Introducing aspects of life in Year 1 to the K4 students, helps them become familiar with the Primary environment, and ensures they are comfortable with the Teachers.  Of course giving students the skills to enter the Year 1 programme with confidence the following year, will make the transition much smoother.

The parents need to be prepared and knowledgeable for this K4 to Year 1 transition as well.  In Semester 1, we held a parent workshop in which the ECE Coordinators shared all the ways the ECE programme prepares students for success in Primary, academically as well as socially and emotionally.  The Primary Leaders will follow this up with a K4 to Year 1 transition meeting in Semester 2, in which the focus will turn more to Primary and what parents and their children can expect.  We are delighted to invite you to this K4 to Year 1 Transition meeting for parents on Tuesday, February 19, at 8:30am in the Regency Park Campus Auditorium.

Chinese New Year Memories of YCIS Parents

        Edited by: Roseline Yang, Community Liaison Officer

Has the celebration of the Chinese New Year changed from when your parents were little? Depending on which generation and also which part of the country you are from, people have different customs.  Let’s hear from our YCIS Pudong parents about what they recall and enjoyed from this festival when they were little.

What I remember from the celebration of Chinese New Year in my childhood is the firecrackers and all different types of firework. –Sammy Weng (Y5 Kyle)

I can recall how we were preparing the food with the neighbours: making sausages, frying the tofu, fish and piece of meat as well as making different shapes of nian gao (a sweet specialty for Chinese New Year).  All the women were busy from head to toe while children were playing nearby and eating different types of snacks. Children were also making lanterns and playing with firecrackers to celebrate the New Year.    Ruby Liao (Y2 – Elisa)

Common items for the New Year were: the Family dinner on New Year’s Eve, firecrackers, eating candies, wearing new clothes, offering presents to relatives, and receiving yasui qian or hong bao (one is money in red envelope for the children to grow up, the other one is for older people to wish health).   Melisa Wu吴海华  (Dora Y5)

In the countryside where my family comes from, everyone first has a big family dinner on Chinese New Year’s Eve and then goes to buy fireworks.  In our area, fireworks do not stop from the evening all the way to the morning of New Year’s Day. Every single house lights fireworks and children can go and see each other’s fireworks! Before going to sleep, adults will put yasui qian (money) under the pillow of the children, in order to symbolize that children have grown up, that they are one year older. During Chinese New Year, children just need to meet adults and say “Happy New Year! Gong xi facai” and they will automatically receive a hong bao (red envelope). At the same time, adults visit each other: relatives and friends! -Cindy Wang王琴 (Xin Y2 and Aaron Y4)

 Dad’s Spring Festival Scroll

                        Written by Ning Diao (Lou Ling, Y2).

I was born in a small mountain town in Helongjiang Province in Northeast China. We did so many fun things to prepare for the celebration of the Chinese Year – making new clothing for kids, buying fire crackers, making foods, snacks, candies for the new year holiday, watching people rehearsing and playing yangko, a local folk dance in our neighborhood, to name a few.

Among all these preparation and celebration activities, my favorite one is to watch my dad write beautiful Chinese characters on Spring Festival Scrolls a couple of days before Spring Festival. Dad’s Spring Festival Scrolls were so unique and nice. Every year, Dad would write more sets than we needed and gave some to our neighbors. All these neighbors were expecting to receive my Dad’s Spring Festival Scrolls. To me, giving away Dad’s Spring Festival Scrolls seemed to be a part of our family’s new year celebration. I felt so proud and happy when I helped to deliver scrolls to neighbors!

Dad has not written scrolls for many years, since we grew up and lived in different cities. We seemed always in a hurry to prepare for spring festivals especially after we had our own families. To my siblings and me, it was more convenient to buy it from stores.

Recently, I became aware that I may never see my father writing Spring Festival Scrolls again, as his right hand can’t move well after a stroke last summer. And right now, I realize how much I missed the moment watching Dad bring beautiful Chinese characters one by one in black ink on the red paper with his magic long nice writing brush; listening to Dad explain the meaning of couplets; and seeing our neighbors’ happy faces when they accepted the scrolls. I will never forget the moments after putting the Spring Festival Scrolls on the gate together with Dad, we stood there together to appreciate each of the beautiful Chinese characters and the fresh look of the gate, reading the couplets with great expectation ofthe coming new year. 

Celebrating 10 Years of Service at YCIS

Written by: Roseline Yang, Community Liaison Officer

Every year at the YCIS Shanghai Staff Christmas Dinner, the school is excited to celebrate the teachers and support staff who have completed 10 years of service as a staff member at YCIS Shanghai.  This school year, on December 14, 2018 it was a special night for YCIS Pudong as we were able to celebrate ten of our Teachers achieving this milestone.

We recently spoke to each of them to understand more about what they like about the school and what motivates them to continue contributing to the success of YCIS.

  • Please share with us what your position is, what you do and your previous background.

Carrie: I am the Y2B class teacher and CAL-2 Chinese Language Teacher, as well as Lower Primary CAL leader. I have a Bachelor degree in International Chinese learning and I used to work in a language school for two yearsbefore joining YCIS.

Sissy: Before becoming the Primary Head of Chinese Department and PD Coordinator, I was the Y1, CAL and CFL Curriculum leader and Co-teaching committee facilitator, as well as teaching Chinese from Year 1 to Year 6. I am still teaching Y6 Chinese this year. I graduated from East China Normal University with a Master Degree in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages and a Teaching Degree in Primary and Early Childhood Education. I also have a Bachelor degree in Administration and a vocational qualification of Psychological Consultant. 

Cathy: I graduated from Shanghai Normal University majoring in Primary Education. Before having the honor to be a part of YCIS, I worked for a local school for 9 years as a Chinese Language teacher and Year Level leader.

Lydia: I had been teaching Mandarin as an additional language at a language training school in Shanghai for 6 years before joining YCIS. I am the Y4A Chinese co-teacher and Upper Primary CAL leader. I also teach CAL5 to Year 5 students.

Rainbow: I have been in the education field for 12 years and I used to work in another Kindergarten in Shanghai before joining the YCIS family. I have a bachelor degree from Shanghai East China Normal University.

Vivien: Before working at YCIS, I was an English teacher in a local middle school for five years and then a Chinese teacher at an international school for four years. I am teaching Year 2 this year.

Cindy: I graduated from Shanghai Nan Lin Normal school where I majored in Childhood Education. I worked in a local school for 3 years, and worked in anotherinternational school for over 10 years.

Eva: This is my 23rd year as a teacher. I taught Chinese at a local school in Shanghai for 13 years. I graduated from Shanghai Normal University, majoring in Primary School education

Alex: I used to be a Year 1 Co-Teacher for 5 years before becoming Technology Teacher and Integrator for the past 5 years. I am from Ukraine and I majored in Linguistics English and Japanese and my last degree was from US University in “Integrating Technology in K-12 classroom”.

Alicia: This year I am teaching K2A. For the past ten years here, I have taught in K2 and K3. I am originally from Hong Kong and studied in Hong Kong, international schools in Shanghai, and USA. I have a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from State University of New York at New Paltz, and a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from University of Southern California.

  • What do you like the most at YCIS?

Carrie: I like YCIS because the teachers and colleagues here are very friendly and professional. We treat each other like family. And I love the learning environment at YCIS; we teach students with love and students show their passion for learning.

Sissy: I like that YCIS is providing a holistic educationand curriculum for students, supporting their social and emotional development, as well as their academic development. Also, I like the whole YCIS community and working in the international environment that values both eastern and western culture.

Cathy:  What appeals to me the most in the school is that there are many learning opportunities here. I have the chance to learn more about the latest educational ideas and practices in my own teaching career. I quite enjoy working here with my team and my co-teachers.  I also made many good friends in YCIS.

Lydia: What I like most at YCIS is the big learning communitythat the school provides to all the students, staff and parents.

Rainbow: I love to be with the young children and have a lot of opportunities to play, learn and grow with them together. I like our working team the most, because we always encourage each other, collaborate with each other and enjoy every moment we have in our teaching.  

Vivien: I really enjoy working at YCIS, I like the school motto quite well, it is really an amazing learning community at YCIS. Students have lots of opportunities to experience Art, PE, Chinese, Music etc.

Eva: What I like most about working at YCIS is the working environment, where everyone is respected and treated equally. It is a positive place to work and I have been fortunate to work in successful teams who are like a family. 

Alex: What I like the most is the professional atmosphere created by the school leaders, the ways they approach solving different problems and providing teachers with support. Also, I really like working with a diverse group of students coming from different cultures and being unique in their own ways.

Alicia: I really like how friendly and collaborative we all are, we are constantly sharing teaching ideas and resources.

  • What is your best memory at YCIS?

Carrie: The most memorable event at YCIS is the farewell of teachers and students. We keep in touch with our colleagues and students when they leave and no matter where they go, we still keep the good memory we had in school.

Sissy: Global Child Day is one of my favourite events, I really appreciate exploring the different cultures and the flag parade and feel the harmony of our community.

Lydia:My most memorable event at YCIS is the camp with Y6 students. I learn lots of useful skills and develop my own potential along with the students.

Rainbow: As an ECE teacher, I would never forget that when a parent came to me said, “I feel so happy to have you be my child’s teacher this year. We’ve heard quite good things aboutyou.” We are so lucky. I am so thankful that I chose to be an ECE teacher as my career.

Vivien: I like the Global Child Day event, it is a good chance for students to know and learn more information about different countries.

Cindy: What I like the most at YCIS is I always learn something new. The School is steadily growing and developing, and we are always facing something new.

Eva: There are lots of memories but I like meeting my new co-teachers. They help me to grow positively both professionally and personally. I have learned many different cultures from them and from the students, helping me to improve holistically.

Alex: My first Year 1 graduation in 2009, because I saw how much the kids had grown and I felt proud of the positive impact I had contributed to their growth.

Alicia:   My most memorable events are my colleagues’baby showers and my most memorable souvenir has to be now my 10-year trophy and necklace.

  • What do you like to do in your free time?

Carrie: I like to travel and learn about different cultures in various ways. I also like to taste the food from countries.

Sissy: Watch movies, Chinese dance and a super “Chi Huo” (foodie) look for different restaurants to try different food.

Cathy: After school, I usually have a good time with my family, ie. reading some stories for my daughter. Traveling, listening to music and tasting all kinds of food are my hobbies as well.

Lydia: I enjoy and appreciate Chinese traditional Xiqu, such as Kunqu opera, Jingju opera. Reading and exercising is also my favorite way to relax.

Rainbow: I like to travel and spend time with my family. 

Vivien: In my spare time I like reading, travelling and crafts.

Cindy: I like to read and listen music in my free time.

Eva: There’s an old saying: “Read ten thousand books and travel ten thousand miles.”  In my spare time, I like reading and traveling.

Alex: For me, it is also Reading and Sports as well!

Alicia: And me, watching movies and stage shows, playing with my cat, and traveling the world.

Meet Year 6 Student Sophia Tsives

Written by: Andrea Griego, Student Support & Wellbeing Coordinator

Music, splashing, girls giggling, a coach loudly giving instructions, this is a scene that Sophia Tsives is very familiar with. Sophia, a Year 6 student, is a synchronised swimmer. Sophia explained synchronised swimming as being a combination of swimming, gymnastics and dance. “I love it because it combines my favourite sports,” exclaimed Sophia.

Sophia began swimming when she was just three years old and when she was six, she decided to try synchronized swimming. She began classes when she lived in the United States and continued when she arrived in Shanghai. “At first, it was hard to find a synchronized swim team in Shanghai, but I finally found one and tried out.” Sophia says that they accepted her on a local Chinese team but only one other girl speaks English on the team. She was a little nervous at first but has easily adjusted. “I like my team and it has also helped me learn more Mandarin because I have to listen to Mandarin and speak with the other girls in Mandarin too.” Sophia likes participating in synchronised swimming competitions and has competed in one in Shanghai with her team.

Sophia also attends gymnastics classes and likes most physical activities. She says, “exercise like sychronised swimming helps me relieve stress and feel good.” Sophia has been at YCIS for four years and has an older brother in Year 9. She says that she likes YCIS because students are friendly and caring, and that teachers are nice and take time to explain things if you don’t understand.

YCIS Pudong 21 – Planning for the Future

Written by Damien Hehir, Co-Principal YCIS Pudong

One thing that we can always be sure of in Shanghai and China in general is that the future is hard to predict and that change is inevitable.  A few years ago, with more international schools opening up and less new families coming into China, we decided to move our Year 5 students back to the Regency Park Campus.  The landscape has changed dramatically since then.  Over the past few years we have seen far less withdrawals across the school and a significant increase in new student intakes.

In order to accommodate these changes, we have informed our current Year 4 parents that when their child is in Year 5 in August 2019, they will be based at Century Park Campus.  This will enable us to continue to grow the Early Childhood and Lower/Middle Primary School, as well as continue to develop the Century Park Campus as a site for both Upper Primary and our Secondary.  We explained the many benefits of the Year 5s being at Century Park Campus and the opportunities this would present those students in the letter we sent home.  Click here if you would like to read the full letter where this was communicated.  The students were ecstatic when we informed them and they can’t wait to make the move.

One key new component of our School’s revamped Mission, Principles and Practices document which was officially launched in 2018 is the development of Learning Communities.  As stated in the School’s new guiding statements:

We believe that ‘Learning Communities’ best enable students and teachers to creatively and holistically explore different fields of knowledge, fostering individual and collaborative learning skills that are critical for the 21 Century.

Learning Communities is an innovative approach towards student learning which focuses on the individual needs and learning styles of the students.  It starts with creating flexible learning spaces for students in which they can: collaborate, direct their own learning, have spaces for quiet and reflection, have spaces for being creative and showcase their learning.

The model of sitting in rows and listening to a teacher talk for most of the lesson is dated and doesn’t meet the needs of all learners.  In order to make this all happen, we will be starting to develop flexible learning spaces for our Primary Students at Century Park Campus.  This will no doubt make their learning more engaging and fun, and we expect parents will notice a difference in them.


We will also be setting up a flexible learning community space in the IB wing in 2019-20 for the Year 12 and 13 students. Again, the re-modelling will be based around meeting the needs of the students, enabling them to work with each other and key staff, and giving them the best possible learning environment to enable them to be successful.  We have been working with staff to start to shift their thinking about classroom spaces and pedagogy and will continue to work with parents to better explain our model and plans for the future.  These are very exciting times to be a YCIS student.

As we moved to a new School Leadership Team (SLT) structure for 2018-19 with whole school Co-Principals and a Business Manager working together to oversee all aspects of the school, we felt that a 3 Year strategic plan for the school was a good way to start.  We hired an Education Consultant to lead us in this process.  We looked at an incredible amount of data including: survey information from parents, staff and students; assessment results, Admissions and Withdrawal information and then worked with leaders across the academic and non-academic sections of the whole school in Pudong to identify key strengths and areas of growth and development.   After an initial two-day retreat, we formed a taskforce to continue to work on the plan and began the process of implementation.  The culmination of this work for the past eight months will be the official launch of Pudong 21 on the evening of January 16. At this evening we plan to share our vision and major goals for the next three school years, taking us to July 2021 (hence the 21).


Members of our community are welcome to attend this special launch of Pudong 21 on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at the Century Park Campus Theatre, beginning at 6:00pm.

During this event, we will share the following with our community:

  • Introduce our ‘Pudong 21’, our three-year Strategic Plan, explaining the areas of focus and how this will benefit our students;
  • We will highlight recent successes and opportunities for our students;
  • You will hear stories from our students, alumni, and some of our parents;
  • A student panel will answer questions from parents; and
  • We will share major renovation plans for the Century Park Campus.

After the presentations have concluded, parents are invited to join us for a reception, where there will be a number of booths set up for parents to visit and speak with our specialist leaders in subject areas including Performing Arts, Chinese, Mathematics, English, Physical Education, and many more. In addition, our section Coordinators for ECE, Primary, Lower Secondary, IGCSE, IB, and our University Guidance Counsellor will also be available to talk with parents about the programmes the school offers and to answer questions.  Doors will open from 5:30pm and staff will be available to talk to parents from that time onwards.  If you have not yet registered and would like to do so, click here.  There will be limited spaces so don’t wait, register now.

We are excited about the future at YCIS Pudong and we want you to be a part of it.   As always, we are very grateful to our parent community and we thank you for your ongoing commitment and support.

Christmas Performances Bring a Festive Spirit

Christmas is fast approaching, and at YCIS Pudong, students have been ensuring that everyone is getting into the festive spirit! After the fantastic school-wide Winter Concert, and the joyous Christmas Tree Lighting event that kicked off the seasonal celebrations, students from YCIS Pudong Primary have been keeping parents and staff entertained with a series of Christmas concerts. Nothing says “Christmas” like the sound of holiday songs performed by groups of enthusiastic student singers.

Over the past two weeks, the Primary students have been making the short hop over to the Century Park Campus Theatre to participate in different pageant-style shows. Each of the shows included short, scripted sections and original songs to keep the audiences entertained. Starting off the fortnight of Christmas cheer were the Year 1 students with their delightful ‘Santa’s Hat’ production. Next up were the Year 2 students with their heart-warming tale ‘A Christmas Toy Story’. The students from Year 3 gave a rousing performance of ‘The Elves’ Impersonator’, while the Year 4 students left the audience smiling with glee after their show, ‘Elfis and the Sleigh Riders’. The Year 1-4 Concerts even had a special guest dressed in red, drop in from the North Pole, much to the excitement of the performing students on stage.

To cap off the week, students from Year 5 and Year 6 joined together for an ensemble variety show/Christmas assembly.  For Year 5 and 6, this is just the beginning.  They will follow up with their much-anticipated Spring Musical next semester. We can’t wait for that show.

The Year 1-6 students have all produced some magical performances, making this special time of year even more delightful for all in attendance. And, of course, this magic was supported by the Performing Arts department, the Visual Arts department, and our year level teachers who have all done a wonderful job with the fantastic set designs, the overall organisation of the events, and helping to prepare our talented students for these incredible performances.

From everyone at YCIS Pudong, we wish you a very MerryChristmas and a HappyNew Year!

Esteemed CIS Consultant, Susie March, Visits YCIS Pudong

Earlier this month, YCIS Pudong was delighted to welcome back a very special guest, Ms Susie March, a world-renowned Council for International Schools (CIS) Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), and Personal, Social, Health & Economics (PSHE) consultant. During her visit, Ms March met with ECE, Primary, and Secondary parents, as well as Secondary students to help share relevant information in these areas.

Ms Susie March’s career began as a practice nurse in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), where her focus was on sexual health, women’s health, and family planning. When an opportunity came for her family to move to Germany, Ms March’s career took a new trajectory. After spending time at her children’s international school, she saw an element of the school curriculum that she thought needed some extra help: the education of children around their sexual health. This presented her with an opportunity to use her skills to do something positive for the school and its students. Ms March spent the next five years volunteering for the school, during which she completed several courses and earned various pedagogical qualifications. Her reputation grew, and, in 2011, she founded her consultancy business, initially working with schools in Germany, the Netherlands, and France, and now with schools across the world. In October 2017, Ms March spent time with educators at YCIS to help advise on the school’s Well-being programme. This year, she revisited YCIS Pudong to help further build on the school’s now very well-established Well-being programme.

Where should a school start when it comes to CSE and Well-being for its students? According to Ms March, a policy is vital. “For schools to have their programmes supported and not undermined, they need to have a policy in place. So, I help schools to not only support their students but also to put in place a curriculum with a clear policy,” she said. “Schools need to have a child protection policy, and they also need to have a sexuality education policy. We have policies for many things – for bullying, or school trips, for example. The sexuality education policy underpins everything within a schools’ curriculum to do with sex education,” added Ms March.

Having a programme that is integrated into the curriculum and that has recurring elements throughout the school year is key to its success. The programme also needs to develop across the year groups, so a student moving through the school will receive a streamlined and consistent message during their time at the school. Having the whole school on board is crucial for this to work. “What YCIS has done, which is really key, is that they’ve worked as a whole school on the programme,” added Ms March.

During her visit, Ms March talked to students from the Upper Secondary school, focusing on how to help them with student life at school, but also to help prepare them for life after school. “We want to ensure that they have the skills to make the right decisions for themselves”, March added.

In addition to talking with students, Ms March also led sessions with parents of students from ECE, Primary and Secondary. The meetings gave the parents the opportunity to highlight questions and concerns about the subject matter. Ms March described how the sessions created an open dialogue between parents, saying “We did an exercise where the parents looked at over 40 topics that students might need to know about, and they had to rank them. They said what they felt were the most important ones, and what they’d like their children to know about more. It’s a great opportunity for them to talk about this with each other.” Ms March stressed the importance of the partnership that occurs between the parents and the school, and how the CSE and Wellbeing programmes will support, not undermine, their values. “We give the students the tools to make decisions, but the parents still have their values from home that underpin all of that. We need to ensure that parents can be partners in this support for their children. Education by the school is actually such a small element of what happens,” said Ms March. According to Ms Zoe Andrews, School Counsellor and Child Protection Officer (ECE and Primary) at YCIS Pudong, parent feedback had indicated this type of education was very welcomed. According to Ms Andrews, “We had very positive feedback from parents. They were saying ‘We don’t know how to teach our children this, and we appreciate the help and guidance.’”

Ms March also shared some tips for parents on how to approach CSE with their children. For example, what should parents do if they’re asked a difficult question? “My first thing would be to ask them to repeat the question slightly differently”, she said. “‘I don’t quite understand what you mean by that? What do you know about that?’ Because, actually, they might be asking something completely different,” advised Ms March. She also said answers don’t need to be too detailed at first, that parents should avoid being too personal with their responses, and they should never ‘make up’ answers. Being factual, and not being afraid to say when you don’t know the answer are all critical, according to Ms March. What about starting conversations with children? Ms March recommended using the things around us every day to start up conversations, such as books, TV shows, or the radio. Another way to engage young people is to have screen-free (no phones or other devices) dinners together as a family – when possible – and to have a choice of topics that can be discussed throughout the meal. These topics can be pre-written and selected by children, parents, and any other family members at the dinner table.

Overall, it’s safe to say Ms March was impressed by YCIS Pudong’s progress since her last visit, remarking “Wow! From what I’ve seen, the work that has been done in the past year is phenomenal,” she enthused. Ms March’s recent visit was not only educational and insightful for all in attendance, but it also built on the school’s continued efforts to provide the safest possible learning environment for all students and staff.

Parent Volunteer Opportunities for Sem 2

Written by: Roseline Yang, Community Liaison Officer

This week is the 17th week of school.  The school year is almost half-way through,  and if you look back, you will see how much we all have grown and improved as individuals and as a community. By investing our time and our efforts in education, the class and school activities, we have contributed to the ongoing improvement of the place we care about, for the benefit of all the members of the school community.

We hope that parent will continue to get involved and provide support in the second semester, especially with the celebration of Chinese New Year coming-up in January!  If you are wondering how you can get involved in Semester 2, here are some ways:

Class Involvement and Decoration for School Events

As in the first semester when parents read stories during Book Week or helped to decorate the corridor’s board on the theme of Dinotopia, class teachers may again seek parent help to organize activities related to Chinese Culture and/or to decorate the board outside the Primary classrooms for ECE & Primary Chinese New Year Celebration Week – January 21-25.

Joining our efforts to celebrate diversity in our School Community

The Parent Organization Pudong (POP) Global Child Day Committee is looking for support again to work in cooperation with the Academic team’s Chinese Culture and Chinese New Year Celebration Week for the following items:

  • Prepare a presentation to share with students during their school assembly
  • Prepare a performance for the Chinese New Year Celebration Evening
  • Prepare fun activities related to Chinese New Year to share with students
  • Prepare a table booth at the entrance of the cafeteria on the theme of Chinese New Year

Remember that everyone is welcome to get onboard in preparation for the Global Child Day on May 25.

Growing by Helping Each Other and Sharing our Talents in the School Community

POP has created a WeChatgroup for parents who would like to support with their time and energy to support the school and upcoming events.  Examples of how parents could help out include: helping the Primary Librarian during the second-hand book exchange, helping the Primary Art teacher with displays, selling YCIS Spirit items during events, or supporting fundraising activities. We are always very grateful to receive help offered by parents.  Thank you very much for supporting POP whose aim is to support the school!

In the second semester, POP will be looking forward to receiving your support for the Staff Appreciation Day on March 13!  Meanwhile, help is always welcome for the secondhand-uniform team on Tuesdays and Chinese translators are always needed, especially for the upcoming parent workshop by licensed counselor Catherine Humpherys on January 10.  English translators might also be needed for the Chinese Painting Workshop offered by Pr. Mou Yue on January 15 & 18.

A huge thank you again for all your effort and contribution to our school! Feel free to contact: rpcp.parentrelations@sh.ycef if you would like to get involved no matter how!