University Preview Night

By: Timothy Gartz, University Guidance

March 14, saw our Century Park Campus hold its first annual University Preview Night for all Year 12 students and parents. This event provided an overview of the university search and selection process and steps students and parents can take now to ensure success.

There were three components that made the evening truly special: an overview by our University Counselor, a Year 13 student panel discussion and university break-out sessions in adjacent classrooms. Mr. Timothy Gartz, MSW LCSW emphasized the value of a YCIS education that is unique in its individual attention and the quality of teaching and learning in our international curriculum. He shared the importance of finding university cultures that match student interests and to go beyond name recognition in finding university programs that align with career goals and personal aspirations. Students can then craft their applications in a way that demonstrate their knowledge, interests, and preparation to the world’s best university programs and faculties.

Yet, the highlight of the evening in many ways was the Year 13 panel discussion. As Yolanda Wang and Mary Lu point out: “The best part of the night was receiving direct feedback from our fellow classmates about application strategies and what we can do to avoid mistakes:” The panel consisted of: Annie Ieong, Anna Xie, Elizabeth Robinson, Florencia Darino, Kenneth TNG, Lorenzo Cavalleri and Sharon Chen. Each offered their choices in university programs and their university acceptances (eg. University College London, New York University, McGill University and The University of Hong Kong) before answering questions from students and parents. The discussion became lively as Year 13 students shared their successes as well as some of the pitfalls to avoid in their applications such as how to create a university list, meet application and financial aid deadlines, and write quality essays and personal statements.

Following the panel, we enjoyed a short intermission before participating in classroom presentations by The University of Calgary, NYU Shanghai, The University of Hong Kong and The University of Nottingham and Birmingham in the UK. Students came away understanding how to apply and the unique programs and student life opportunities on these campuses. They now turn their attention to creating university lists while focusing on their college essays, recommendation letters, meeting college testing requirements and performing their best in their IB courses.

Educating Teachers in the 21st Century

Written by Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer

The two day Conference in March was a celebration of the 85th Anniversary of Yew Chung and Yew Wah Schools. Over 1200 teachers participated in various locations across Hong Kong and mainland China, with the theme being: ‘Reinvention: The Future Beckons’. This theme highlighted that we, as a school, need to constantly focus on the future and the skills and competencies our students will need to prepare them for that future. The theme also represented YCIS’ stated mission to pioneer educational pedagogy through the introduction of ‘Learning Communities’ and a focus on global competencies.

The Pudong Campuses of YCIS along with Yew Wah Lingang and Yew Wah Kindergarten in Pudong, converged on Century Park Campus for our section of the conference.  In total there were 300 educators meeting over the two days. During the first day, teachers were able to attend a variety of teacher-led workshops on topics such as reading, co-teaching, communication with parents, technology and growth mindset. Some of our teachers and non-teaching staff also participated in First Aid Training.

On the second day, we used video conferencing links to connect with 1,200 other colleagues from the global network of Yew Chung International Schools (YCIS) and sister schools, Yew Wah International Education Schools (YWIES), who gathered concurrently in five other cities around China to focus on the future of education.  Several education specialists were invited to share their expertise at the conference providing keynote presentations on topics such as Differentiation, Technology (robotics and artificial intelligence) and our unique ECE programme.

Throughout the event, workshops and panel discussions served to augment the continuous professional development offered to educators at YCIS. Following in-depth discussion and debate, tactical implementation of ideas for new learnings were proposed across the school network.  According to Dr Troy Lui, Chief Education Officer at YCIS and YWIES schools:

“If schools want to rethink the direction of education, it is not enough to rely solely on past experience. It is imperative to consult scholars and experts to understand the latest research results and practical experience.”

“The fact that there is not only one school but many other schools working in the same direction is quite powerful. Meeting people from other schools having the same fundamental values was also very inspiring.” YCIS Pudong Community Relations Officer Roseline Yang.

“I really enjoyed the first morning where we got to exchange with other peers from other schools. By comparing ourselves, I could see that some of the teaching strategies I was using were quite useful for others, and at the same time, I could learn new ideas from teachers from other schools.” YCIS Pudong Y1 Joanne Taylor

“‘Reinvention’ is precisely our call to action. This is our opportunity to reinvent education. As we gather here to celebrate our 85th Anniversary, we come together to lay the future direction for the education of our children. The existing pedagogy, methodology, and content should be modified to equip the next generation so that they will become the leaders of tomorrow.” YCIS & YWIES CEO and School Supervisor Dr Betty Chan said during her Conference opening address.

Dr Lui concluded: “This conference affirmed that our schools are taking the lead in 21st-century teaching methodology. We’ve already implemented teaching methods which prepare children to be successful in navigating the unknown challenges they will face in the coming decades. We aim to be a shining example for educators worldwide through our forward-thinking approach.”

If you would like to get more insight about their talk, feel free to contact us:

Welcome Back to School

Written by: Damien Hehir and Mary Yu, Co-Principals


This year we tried something new by opening the campus up the day before school starts, so that both new and returning parents could come in to school to collect uniforms, meet the teachers, get lunch cards and transportation organized, and catch up with each other over coffee and tea.  We received positive feedback regarding this new initiative and it made the first school day much smoother as a result. Feel free to pass on any feedback to Roseline Yang (Community Relations Officer) or Nadine Runkel (POP Liaison Officer).

The first day was full of excitement as the children settled into their classes and got to know their new teachers.  The school year is off to a great start and we look forward to all the great events and opportunities ahead.

Regency Park Campus Facility Upgrades

The students in the Early Childhood (ECE) were very excited to see their new playground installed and ready for playing on.  The children were excited to try out all the new pieces of equipment as well as see the new areas surrounding the play structure.  There was also new shading installed which will add to the comfort of the students when playing.

The Primary students were also excited to get back on the Primary play equipment under the new shade that was installed in the summer.  This shade will also make this area more comfortable for students, staff and parents.


The classrooms in the Primary have also been equipped with new desks and chairs that were imported from New Zealand.  The seats are designed with young children’s comfort and posture in mind, and the desks are on wheels and provide flexible arrangements depending on the students and their learning tasks.

The campus had a general facelift and tidy up, and returning parents would have seen changes to our Parent Rooms, noticeboards, a new monitor for announcements and fresh coat of paint in classrooms and hallways.  The school was looking fantastic for the first day of school.

Century Park Campus Facility Upgrades

The Century Park Campus where our Year 6 students are along with the Secondary, also had some major work done during the summer.  The Century Park Campus now has a brand new playground designed for older students with a large pyramid installed and a zip line (flying fox) at the end of the field which is already very popular with students, and even some staff.

The Year 6 classrooms also have new furniture from the same supplier as the Regency Park Campus.  Other changes have included a wonderful new entrance to the Gym which will inspire all of our young sports stars of the future, new seating areas for students near the Art Room and Office, fresh paint in classrooms and hallways and a new Design Technology room.

Parent Information Evenings

We invite you to attend our upcoming Parent Information Evenings.  These evenings will give our teachers an opportunity to formally introduce themselves and take you through the routines and curriculum for that particular year level.  We will be telling you more about how we communicate with you as a school and at class level, and we will be sharing our new student e-portfolio app, SeeSaw which will be very exciting and we can’t wait to show you.


This is the schedule for the Parent Information Evenings:

Regency Park Campus, Year 1-5 on Tuesday, August 29
6:00pm                   EAL Presentation in the RP Auditorium (3rd floor) – EAL parents only
6:30pm                   Classroom Presentation (in your child’s classroom)
7:15pm                   Repeat Classroom Presentation (for those with more than one child)

Refreshments available from 7:15pm in the Cafeteria with YCIS staff.  This will be a great opportunity for parents to meet with EAL and Specialist Teachers.

Century Park Campus, Year 6 on Thursday, August 31
5:15pm                   Secondary Presentation in the CP Theatre – Year 6 parents are welcome
6:00pm                  Presentation by Year 6 Teachers in the Cafeteria followed by refreshments

Regency Park Campus, Early Childhood (ECE) on Tuesday, September 5
5:30pm                Coordinator Presentation for New Parents in the Auditorium (3rd floor)
6:15pm                Classroom Presentation for New Parents (in your child’s classroom)
6:30pm                Coordinator Presentation for Returning Parents in Auditorium (3rd floor)
7:00pm                Classroom Presentation for Returning  Parents (in your child’s classroom)

Refreshments will be available for all ECE Parents in the hallway outside the Auditorium, 15 minutes before the presentations.

Parent Organisation Pudong (POP)
As a YCIS parent, you are automatically a member of our parent organization called POP.  We invite all parents to come and find out what POP does, which events and workshop will be offered for our community this school year and how YOU can get involved.

PLEASE JOIN US for our annual Welcome Gathering on:
Thursday,  September 7
8:15 -10:00 am
Regency Park Campus Gym, 2nd floor

You will also have the opportunity to visit several Shanghai-based medical and other service providers (Scouts, Community Centre etc.) and receive plenty of useful information.

Other Important Information for Parents

Co-Curricular Activities

YCIS continues to build on the holistic programme we offer, and that includes adding to and improving the activities the students can participate in.  We have renamed our after school activities, ‘Co-Curricular Activities’ (CCAs) as these activities will often take place at lunch time (during play) as well as activities taking place on weekends.  This new name of CCAs will be used in Secondary as well.  We will be offering more activities and opportunities on Saturdays this academic year, and we plan to tell you more about this in the coming weeks.

Security Reminder
We remind parents / caregivers that it is essential that you wear your child’s student photo ID when entering and exiting the campus, and when picking up your child from their classroom.  If you do not wear the student photo ID, you will be asked to follow the visitor procedures.  If you did not receive the security notice, please see ECE and Primary Blog – New Parent Information.

Nuts and Shellfish Aware
We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that our students and visiting adults are not permitted to bring nuts, nut products and shellfish into our school campuses.  This practice has been in place for the past few years.  We have a number of students with serious allergies; eating food containing nuts or shellfish in the vicinity of these children can be extremely dangerous. Our teachers will be discussing this with the children so that they are aware of the situation.  Whilst we can never totally guarantee that we are nut and shellfish free, we really appreciate your support by not sending food to school, which contains shellfish, nuts, or is cooked in nut oil.

We thank you for entrusting YCIS with the education and safety of your precious child.  We will do our best to ensure the school meets your child’s need.  We hope your child has a wonderful year at school and that YCIS is a community in which the whole family feels welcome and engaged.

6 Ways to Care for the Environment

By: Elizabeth Hambleton, (Y6 Teacher / Year Leader)

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 of each year. It is a day to celebrate the beauty and resources that nature gives us but to also bring to light the fact that our planet’s resources are finite and need protecting. The fate of our planet is not only in our hands, but also in the hands of our children. Earth Day gives us the opportunity to teach our children about caring for the earth, as well as creating life-long habits that are environmentally friendly.

Check out these 6 ways you can teach your children about Earth Day:

  1. Read them books!

Not just any books, but stories about caring for the environment. Our libraries at school have a wide variety of books with an environmental theme, including The Lorax, The Giving Tree, The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps, Seeds of Change, Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World, The Tree Lady, Compost Stew and What Does it Mean to Be Green?.

  1. Spend time outdoors

It seems obvious, but when we live in a large city like Shanghai, we have seemingly less opportunity to go outside and enjoy nature. Fortunately, Shanghai does have many large park areas, with Century Park right on our doorstep. Charge your children with the responsibility of taking photos outdoors or complete a family scavenger hunt.

  1. Teach them how to conserve

One way to help not only the Earth, but also the bills, is conserving water and electricity. Children as young as three years old can get into the habit of turning lights off and shutting off water when brushing their teeth. Older children can help unplug electronics when they are not in use.

  1. Make a family pledge

The best way to inspire and support our children is to lead by example. By choosing goals and working towards them as a family, you instill both environmental and family values in your children. Start new traditions and create new habits to involve all the members of your family. Meatless Monday? Waste-free snacks? Sponsor an endangered animal? The possibilities are limitless.

  1. Go online

There are endless resources online for finding activities, crafts, kid-friendly information and eco-friendly practices. Check out the following websites to see what might interest you and your family:

  1. Join a community event

Get involved with the Shanghai community. There are often eco-themed events being planned at various venues around Shanghai, including our school. Click on the below link for some examples of upcoming happenings:

Year 5 Student Wins ‘Global Child Award’

Written by Andrea Griego, Student Support Coordinator

8-global-child-awards1The first ever YCIS Student Global Child Award winner was chosen this month. Tim Sanders from Y5A received his award at the Founder’s Day Assembly on Friday, October 14th.

What are the criteria for this award?
In line with our focus on the UN Global Goals this year, winners who will display the YCIS Philosophy and Objectives in their daily lives, specifically behaving and taking action in ways that help others. Examples of this are helping classmates, the school, or the wider community in special or out of the ordinary ways.

Who can be considered?
All students can be considered for this award, and it can be given to individuals, groups of students or even a class or year level.

Will this award be given through out the year?
Yes! Five awards will be given every academic year.

What did Tim do to win this award??
Tim has displayed leadership, citizenship and kindness when the school hosted the WILL Foundation children visiting during Kids’ Night In. He went above and beyond what was expected as a host by making sure that the students felt included and by helping them out in every way that he could. “I just like helping and having fun,” said Tim.

Mr. Lennart van Vlerken said,  “Tim always practises good sportsmanship and is very helpful on and off the sports’ fields. He shows these traits during PE lessons, recesses on the field and while playing for YCIS Sports Teams.”

Staff Focus: Ms. Sil Lee, ECE Student Support Teacher

Written by Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer

7-sil-picThis year, a new position has been created to enhance the diversity and the multi-functionality of the ECE professional teaching team: ECE Student Support Teacher. The aim of this position is to provide additional support for children, teachers and parents in all aspects of the Early Childhood programme.

Sil Lee moved to Shanghai from Taipei, Taiwan where she had been working as a Learning Support Teacher from Nursery to Year 6 for eight years in an international school. She holds a Masters degree in Early Childhood General Education and Early Childhood Special Education in Syracuse University in New York State (USA) and worked as an Early Childhood Special Education Consultant for San Francisco Unified School District. She is also a mom of two boys (in Year 5 and K4 at YCIS). Let’s meet her directly!

According to specialists in Learning Support in Shanghai, your profile is extremely demanding and your Korean language background makes you even more unique! Why did you choose to study Early Childhood Special Education?
I have always been interested in education and as I was doing my student teaching for my Bachelor’s in Spanish teaching for High School students in Seoul, Korea, I realized that students having difficulties in learning had actually accumulated their gaps across their learning journey. I thought that if they were helped when they were small, they might have had different learning experiences and have had a higher chance at reaching their full potential. That is why I decided to learn more about Early Childhood Special Education.7-sil-lee-telling-a-story

Early Years are a magical time of learning and growth. Every child is unique, special and full of possibilities. I’m privileged to work with young children not only because I get to help them, but also they teach me a lot!

What made you move to Shanghai? Why did you choose to join YCIS?
My husband has been working in China for almost 3 years now, and I wanted to join him this year. Initially, as I don’t like change much, I was reluctant to relocate; however, I find myself enjoying the diversity, beautiful scenery and rich culture Shanghai offers. I am also lucky to be working at YCIS with wonderful young children and amazing, fully committed colleagues.

What does your role consist in?
My primary responsibility is to provide support to students, teachers and parents. I work with children who need extra support in their development, learning English language or extending their skills. Also, I often meet with parents and teachers to listen to them and provide any strategies or help where needed.

What techniques do you use?
They vary depending on the needs of the students. I share specific techniques or strategies with teachers and parents when needs arise. I am also planning for a parent workshop in the second semester regarding ‘Developing pre-literacy skills.’ If you are interested in the topic, please watch this space!

7-sil-lee-working-with-a-childWhat’s the most challenging aspect of your position?
Some of the most difficult moments are when I have to tell a parent that their child is experiencing difficulties. I, also as a parent, know how hard it is to hear and accept when someone tells you that your child is not “perfect.” However, I need to remind myself and the parents it is okay to be different and to have different needs. What is important is to recognize their strengths and build on them.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?
When you work with children, every moment is rewarding! It is magical when you see children light up when they found something interesting, when they tried something new and finally did it by themselves, or simply when I watch them indulge in their play and develop important life skills while having fun.

Any advice you would like to share with our parents?
Every child is unique and different. They all have their own strengths, interests, and needs. Allow them to grow at their own pace and in their own way, but support and encourage them when they need you.

Parent Involvement Benefits Everyone!

Written by Roseline Yang, Community Relations Officer

6-parent-involvement_mainParent involvement plays a very important role in your child’s education.  A parent being at school and involved, tells a child that you value his or her school and education, and it is worthy of your time and energy.  Parents who are involved in the school have a chance to work with their child’s peers and be a part of the learning environment.  The whole school is the beneficiary of involved, passionate and committed parents.  Let’s see some incredible contributions YCIS parents have made since the beginning of the school year!

Y1 Learning about Keeping Myself Healthypicture1
Making the best of our school community’s resources can be very beneficial to the students. The Year 1 teachers invited in a number of specialists to talk to the children about healthy living. In line with the theme of the incursion “Learn It, Own It, Share It”, the Y1 teachers invited Miss Zoe, YCIS School Counselor, Mr Lennart, Primary Sports and Co-Curricular Coordinator, Dr. Anusha Shetty from New York Dental and Ms Shih, Nurse Practitioner and parent at YCIS.

“I’m happy I could contribute to children’s learning, go out of my comfort zone and once again experience speaking in front of a public”. Debbie Shih (Y4 Parent and POP Core Committee Co-Chair)

picture2Inter-school sports competition
With the increase in the number of sporting teams representing YCIS, parents offering their time and help as coaches for sport teams has become very important and appreciated!

My daughter did not know anything about football and after participating in tournaments against other schools, she was able to experiment with different positions and found out where she felt most comfortable. And this was thanks to her coach who encouraged and motivated the children to try out different roles on the field.

6-parent-involvement_girlsGirls Scouts Camping Out
The great success of the camp out this weekend with all Girl Scout families is a result of parents’ support and participation and the strong commitment from Moms who are dedicating some of their time to prepare the meetings and activities.

“I did not expect that everything worked that well. It was the first time I felt like a big Girls Scouts family. On that camp-out, moms helped with activities and preparing breakfast while dads got involved for the barbecue dinner. Almost all parents participated but the most interesting part is that by contributing, everyone felt part of the same community and had a lot fun!” Jutta Petznick, Girls Scout Coordinator and Y5 parent.

Children’s personal and learning development are at the center of all our interest as parents, as teachers, and as a whole school. We would like to say a special thanks to all parents that have dedicated their time for and we hope that more will join the team to create a more balanced and fulfilling environment in our school community!

Secondary Students Receive “Top in the World” Results in IGCSE 

Written by Dusten Kent, Secondary Vice-Principal

igcse-award-newsIt gives us great pleasure to announce that several of our students have been recognized with top awards by Cambridge for their recent IGCSE results. These are National and International awards for outstanding academic achievements, and the prizes will be given at an awards ceremony in December.

Please join us in congratulating:

  • Kenneth Tng, who came 1st in the World for IGCSE Foreign Language Mandarin (with a 100% score) and is the recipient of the ‘Top in the World’ award.
  • Anna Xie, who came 1st in China for both First Language English and World Literature. Thus, she is the recipient of two awards for her incredible performance in these subjects. Additionally, she had the 4th highest score for World Literature in the World.
  • Lorenzo Cavalleri, who has been awarded a High Achievement Award for IGCSE Foreign Language in Italian.

We’d like to offer special congratulations to the English Department as this is the 4th year in a row that they have had the top scoring student in China for English and / or World Literature, and the 2nd time in the past 3 years that YCIS CP has had the top scoring student in China for First Language English.

We are very proud of all our student achievements at the IGCSE level. While the focus of this article is on these three high achieving students, it is worth noting that many of our IGCSE students reached their personal best and were too very successful in their exam performance, even if not specifically recognized by the exam board.

We hope you will join us all in recognising our student achievements and the great support given by our Secondary teachers.

Teachers As Learners

Written by: Ms. Melissa Shaw Primary Curriculum / Professional Development Coordinator & Ms. Sissy Shen, Primary Head of Chinese Department / Professional Development Coordinator

“Who dares to teach, must never cease to learn.”  John C Dana

Teachers throughout ECE and Primary at YCIS couldn’t agree more with this quote. We recognise the importance for all educators to keep up-to-date with current research and trends in teaching and learning, seeking continual improvement in their own teaching practices to benefit the learning for all students.

2Your child may come home one afternoon and inform you that their class teacher was not at school for the day because they had to go ‘back to school for training!’ It is important to remember that we want to instill in our children the love of learning and there is no better way than to model this behaviour ourselves, showing children that no matter what age, we should always be learners!

3This year at YCIS, the school has appointed Ms Melissa Shaw, who is also our Primary Curriculum Coordinator and Ms Sissy Shen, our Primary Head of Chinese to lead Staff Professional Development. Their role as Professional Development (PD) Coordinators is to work collaboratively with Campus Leaders in providing and supporting teachers with opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills related to their personal and professional goals, as well as whole school initiatives.

In recent years, the opportunity for professional development has grown dramatically within China and the Asia Pacific region. Teachers have many opportunities to attend training on a variety of topics and learn from experts on current, research-based best practices in education.

4We place great importance on affording our teams the opportunity and the time to engage and collaborate in professional dialogue and activities within the school.  The School’s aim is to create a professional learning community where teachers participate in purposeful dialogue between each other and with their teams that focuses on both teaching and learning.

5A great example of this was the initiation of afternoon PD Sessions. Last year the school successfully organised a series of Monday PD Sessions, which invited teachers to present smaller workshops for all teaching and non-teaching staff. This year, the first semester is already scheduled with a variety of sessions on offer. This ‘forum’ encourages teachers having attended specific training, the opportunity to share key ideas and concepts learned and how they have implemented this into their own practice. It also encourages teaching staff with specialised skills to offer training.

Developing a culture of continued professional learning allows us to support student learning, which is at the heart of everything we do at YCIS.

“A great teacher is someone who can learn from their students, who can learn with them, and learns for them.” – John Meehan

More than Just a Place to Play

Written by Damien Hehir & Mary Yu, Co-Principals

3-new-playground-construction  3-new-playground-playing

The wait is now over, and the playground has been installed.  A famous quote from the Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams was: “Build it and they will come…”
This saying could not possibly be any more true when it comes to the new playground.  The level of excitement was so high on the Monday after the holiday, when the first recess bell rang and the race was on to land on the structure.  This enthusiasm continued all week and was renewed when the final piece, the pyramid, was completed this week.  As we walked around the playground, many of the children came up to us saying how happy they were that they had this new playground.  dsc_5980-1219o4p

The different pieces of equipment were carefully chosen to be both challenging and engaging for the students; developing their gross motor skills, confidence, balance and strength.  The play structure also assists children in developing social skills as the students learn to take turns, work together and consider the safety of those around them.  The playground structure is far more than just a place to play, it a holistic learning experience.

The Year 6s were able to use the playground on Founder’s Day and the Early Childhood children are making good use of the equipment as well.  The playground is for everyone – we even saw some teachers and parents who wanted to try it out.


We have been happy to see the parents and guardians allowing their children to use the play structure after school as it is a good community resource for our families.  However, we do need to work together to ensure the rules are followed and that the responsibility of safety and supervision is shared by our parent community.

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We remind parents of a few important points:
– The play structure is not to be used before school
– Parents are responsible for the supervision of their children after school hours (signs explaining this are posted around the playground)
– Please remind your children to follow the same rules for playground use after hours, as when they are supervised by their teachers during school time

The safety of the children is always our number one priority, and following the safety rules will help keep the playground safe.  Have fun!