Yeh Wah Infant and Toddler Discovery Center gives children freedom to grow
A common scenario in a fast-paced society between a 2 to 3-year-old toddler and his novice parent might play out as follows: The child picks a pair of shoes he likes to wear. The parent stops him and chooses a different pair. The child then fumbles to put the shoes on himself but to save time, the parent grabs the shoes and helps the child put them on. Is this a lack of cooperation? Then emotion is triggered from both sides, as the child throws a tantrum and the parent whines in desperation, "What a terrible 2-year-old!"
"That is unfair!" said Yu Lihong, head of the Yew Wah Infant and Toddler Discovery Center of Shanghai.
"'Terrible Twos' is a biased label that adults irritably impose on children. What is in a 2-year-old child when you describe him as 'terrible'? He is merely expressing himself on his way to discovering the world. You didn't satisfy him yet you labeled him 'terrible'.
"Allow him to pick the shoes he likes to wear. Give him 15 minutes out of your schedule for him to put the shoes on himself. The conflict is no longer there. Stable emotions and a positive attitude from the parent are the most powerful defensive anchor for the growth of a child."
Blessing for more office moms
More advice and tips on infant and toddler parenting and education are on their way.
During a reinvigoration ceremony of the Yew Wah Infant and Toddler Discovery Center in Changning District on June 12, Dr Betty Chan Po-king, director of the Yew Chung Education Foundation, recalled the founding of the infant and toddler discovery center.
"Several years ago, the Changning District Bureau of Education extended an invitation to us, asking Yew Chung Yew Wah Education to establish a benchmark of excellence in up to 3-year-old infant education, and to share our expertise. We have gathered here to deliver our promise," Chan said.
"As we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Yew Chung Yew Wah Education Network, we reaffirm our belief that the foundation of education, children's education, should begin during the earlier years. At this age, children's minds are most receptive to learning and we have created a unique environment where our little ones can try, learn and grow," Chan added.
The Hongqiao Subdistrict of Changning has launched child-friendly courses especially for white-collar working moms in the Hongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone in recent years and learned of a soaring need for infant and toddler nursing services.
"Infant and toddler nursing is a much-needed service and a key component for our vision of better community life," said Guo Kai, head of Hongqiao Subdistrict community office. "The opening of the Yew Wah Infant and Toddler Discovery Center is a blessing for white-collar workers in Hongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone and the surrounding office buildings.
"The white-collar parents are therefore able to focus more on their work while entrusting the discovery center with professional infant and toddler care. We just hope more public welfare and culture institutes like this will come out to satisfy the needs of members of the community," said Guo.
"Our educational philosophy emphasizes learning through play and recognizes spaces as a third teacher, which we've delivered in the choice of the name Discovery Center, to reflect our commitment to cultivate a sense of discovery in young children," Chan said.
Space as a third teacher and safer connections
The face-lifted discovery center was co-designed by a world renowned infant and toddler education space design agency and Haruka Ostley, an artist-in-residence at Yew Chung Yew Wah Education.
The space gets rid of the physical layout of traditional classrooms and provides children with a multi-layered and multifunctional learning and playing community.
"Inside the discovery center, we see no walls of the traditional classroom," Yu said. "The space unfolds smoothly where children can walk, play, read freely, and therefore have more opportunities to make new friends, which will prepare them to become more open-minded, tolerant and generous 21st century talent."
Its Immersive Classroom, in particular, is a high-tech visual lab, where children can learn and touch the world through projections of knowledge of different subjects on a wall from design software. Teachers generate lessons while observing the children's discovery activities, rather than preparing the lessons ahead in traditional teaching.
"An environment should empower children to have the ability to make choices, to be the host of their environment. Parents are best to let go of their protection and arrangement to allow the children to explore, otherwise our children never grow," Yu said.
"Relationships are all. When a child newly visits our space, he or she will surely notice the teachers are making friends with their parents, and they will soon have interactions with other children. Safer relationships prepare children to adapt to a new environment," Yu added.
The center at 2111 Yan'an Road W. offers early education support for up to 3-year-old infants and toddlers through its professional faculty team from different countries, a scientific course system, and its child-oriented education concept. The center also offers nursing and education solutions for infant and toddler carers. Courses in the center comprise half-day, whole-day, hourly and night courses, to cater to the diverse needs of different families.