Author Archives: Christie Huang

Starting School

Starting school is an exciting time for children and families. There is a lot to get used to and some children will adapt more easily than others. There are things you can do to prepare your child for school and to support them in their first few weeks. First of all, it is important for you as parents to model a sense of confidence and calm to your child. Children are very perceptive and will sense how you feel.
Children will generally be less fearful when they know what to expect. In the week leading up to starting, casually talk to your child about;
• what he/she will be doing during his/her time in the Early Years Center
• the teachers,
• the other children,
• his/her uniform, drink bottle and school bag.
• When it comes to dropping your child off at the Early Years Center;
• Take advantage of the opportunity to go into the classroom to settle your child to an activity.
• When it is time to go, do not tell your child that you are leaving and then hang around as this has the potential to prolong the period of anxiety for your child.
• Resist the urge to sneak away without saying goodbye.

• Say goodbye and tell your child when you will be back to pick him/her up

• If your child is upset, leave them with a teacher who is trained in a myriad of techniques for supporting them through their anxiety once you are gone. 

Children need to attend regularly to have the opportunity to form the relationships necessary to help them overcome their separation anxiety. While it might seem easier to keep them home on occasion, this may also extend the amount of time a child takes to settle into the new environment.

If your child is worried about starting school, ask him/her what would help, e.g. who should take him/her to school, where he/she wants to say goodbye, what he/she wants to do after school. Having some control over what happens, helps with fears. You might tell your child what you will be doing while he/she is at school.

Some children, when they first start school, find it stressful and may notwant to go. They may get tummy aches or be very tearful in the mornings. If this happens to your child listen to his/her fears. Try not to let them see that you are worried. Let them know that you believe that they can manage to go to school and you will help your child. Ask them what they think would help, eg sometimes going with another parent instead of you is a help. For another child having something small of yours to mind while he/she is at school will help. If the worries don’t get better soon, talk to the teacher or Principal about the best way to help your child. 
Please remember:
• Starting school is a big step for children and it takes time to get used to. 
• Children do best at school when their parents and teachers work together to support them. 
• Let the teacher know if anything is happening in your family that might continue to upset your child at school. 
• Tell the teacher when you are pleased with what is happening at school and when you are concerned. 

Welcome back to IEYC

Children were greeted by lots of warm smiling faces when they joined classes today after the summer holidays.

Children eagerly started exploring the displays  set up to provoke inquiry and discovery.

A special Innova welcome to all our new families. We all look forward to a great year ahead!


Fanhai Family Fun Day

Sunshine and blue skies greeted families for the first family Day and Picnic in the playground at the new Fanhai campus. Children were immediately drawn to explore the different areas that many parents likened to an outdoor classroom. It was pure joy to see children and parents play together. The library opens onto the playground and provides a natural transition from outdoor play to enjoying an inviting space to browse and read books.
If you missed the day, don’t worry we have another one coming soon. See the details below and register now! 
Water Inquiry 水探究
Gravity Inquiry 重力探究
Sound Inquiry 声音探究
Color Inquiry 颜色探究
DIY Gardening  DIY种植
Playground 操场
Library 图书馆 & Classroom 教室

Celebrating Children’s Learning

Children and parents came together to celebrate children’s learning journeys in “Look for Learning” that gave parents an insight into not just what children are learning but how they are learning and to learn together.

It was another example of how we build and define a learning community and gives parents an insight into the knowledge, skills and understandings their children are developing.

But most of all it was a morning of pure joy and excitement that came together as a a celebration of learning and the diversity and depth of explorations and thinking that occurs in an inquiry child centered early years education.


Innova Mini X – A Speciality for Children’s Day

“I have experienced numerous exhibitions of learning .
This is the best one I’ve ever had! ”
–Ms. Casey, Head of IEYC

“A wonderful day,
We felt that children’s creativity is so amazing.
Every piece of work is very beautiful.
Just as if walking into an art gallery.”
— Michelle’s Mother


Last Friday, to celebrate International Children’s Day, IEYC held a series of events including Mini X, an exhibition and celebration of student learning. Children led their parents through the displays by individual and groups of students together with a fabulous exhibition of student art centered on the topic of ‘How we express ourselves’

Children’s One Hundred languages

Regardless of whether it was writing,marking and drawing, or dancing with light; whether it was a STEAM product or creative structures; whether it was a beautiful student crafted dress or cool robot creating ……every work was different, special and unique. Students followed their passion to decide by themselves what to make and how to complete it. It was a great example of the Reggio Emelia philosophy that hundred children have one hundred languages. These amazing works are expressions of these special languages.

Not an Exhibition of completed art works

The purpose of this exhibition was more than to show children’s creation and present their children’s learning process. If you look at each piece in detail, you would find that next to each child’s work, a carefully recorded documentation of the process of each child’s creation. This included the inspiration, planning, process and thinking behind each work. As such the greatest significance of the exhibition lied in the presentation of the child’s creative process. By observing the children’s learning process, parents could quickly make up and review the process of the student’s learning.

And the learning experiences have offered the children the opportunity to experience and develop the 2020 future skills, such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgement and decision making, negotiation and so on. These skills will benefit the students lifelong.

Positive feedback from parents

In order to guarantee the viewing quality and effect, children and parents visited the exhibition in small groups to ensure a quiet and relaxed environment,  where families could better appreciate children’s works and interact with their children. When the children led their parents to the works, many parents first laughed and many were brought to tears of joy. Several words continued to echo in the exhibition hall, such as “too shocked”, “wonderful”, “too touched”… Suddenly, we felt that in the face of so many beautiful things, all the beautiful words are pale and weak.

After the exhibition, children presented a set of personalized postcards capturing images from their child’s exhibition. In addition each family was asked to give feedbacks on one postcard. All the feedbacks we received are affirmative and full of praise. Here are 2 typical messages.

Mia’s Mum: ‘Thanks to all the teachers, we have a wonderful day. We loved the art works and enjoyed all the activities we were involved in today.’

Anna’s Mum: ‘I love love, love, love this show. This is the highlight of the long learning journey that I wasn’t fully aware as a parent. Without the supporting learning space and the experienced and hard-working teachers, the students won’t come to this presentation. This is the most “fit” education that I would choose for my children. And this is the type of future education that I trust and believe in. BIG THANKS!’

Heroes Behind: Teachers and Innova Environment

After marveling at the children’s work, we couldn’t help thinking besides the children themselves, what else and who else have made great contributions. Right, the IEYC learning environment and all the IEYC teachers. They are the big heroes behind the success.

We often say “environment is the third teacher of children”. The reason why the IEYC children have infinite “creativity” lies in the supporting and stimulating environment. In IEYC, we try our best to provide as many provocations as we can to inspire student’s curiosity and creativity. Here, the children’s ideas are respected, encouraged and helped to achieve.

The IEYC-MINI X is organized and worked together by teachers and students. Teachers are co-constructors, guiding the student’s learning through nurturing their curiosity, providing a hypothesis for them and solving problems together; Teachers are researchers, through an active reciprocal exchange, strengthen learning by teaching; Teachers are documenters of learning through listening to students, recording their activities, interpreting and displaying their work, and revising and applying all that have learned together. Without the hard-work of all the teachers, there would not be this show. Here, we are particularly grateful to all the teachers and staff who have worked very hard for this exhibition.

The End

This exhibition will be kept until the end of this school year, so we welcome all the parents to visit with friends and relatives at any time.

“Peaches and plums do not have to talk, yet the world beats a path to them”, whether an education is good or not, student’s performance and works are the best proof. Thanks to the trust and support of our parents, we will continue to work hard in the future, to provide excite each child’s growth and development.

Parents as Partners – The Importance of Communication

At Innova Early Years Center we value the importance of connection. Through this collaboration between home and school we believe in each child’s success in learning and growing socially and emotionally. Home-school collaboration and communication is the key to supporting our families and plays a crucial role in understanding and supporting each child’s learning.

We learn by making connections between what we already know and what we are exploring. There is no-one more capable to help young learners make these connections than the significant others in their life: their parents and teachers. At Innova Early Years Center we see parents and teachers as partners in their child’s learning by communicating with each other to share observations, strategies and questions.

At Innova Early Years Center, we foster this home-school connection by recognizing the importance of community. We encourage families to ask questions and to listen to their child share their learning. One way of doing this is through the ‘app’ called ‘Seesaw: The Learning Journal’.  This tool is an effective communication between school and the family. Teachers can share authentic learning moments that inform parents of their child’s learning.  What is being taught, how it is being taught and it allows parents to see what learning looks like.

Service and Learning

So proud to see Innova’s Service & Action Coordinator, Margot Marks sharing our commitment to Service and Action and how important it is to develop this as a priority, starting in the Early Years.

Margot shared the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Service and Action in which our children are already taking part. Children need to learn young ‘to be part of the change they want to see in the world’ (Mahatma Ghandi) to protect and preserve the planet that they are inheriting.

Service and Action is a mindset that needs to be nurtured to help children to become responsible global citizens and develop strong character. Key to this is to empower children to understand the global issues and link their interests, inquiry and learning and provide children with real world opportunities to solve challenges and take action locally, that impacts the issues globally.

At Innova Academy our kids are fully engaged in the 5C’s of Action and Service – Connect, Collect, Collaborate, Create, Communicate. Service and Action provides real world opportunities to develop these powerful Future Ready Skills and develop leadership and project management skills.

Innova Early Years Center’s service projects focus on the following Sustainable Goals

IEYC have developed someof its own initiatives such as creating ‘turtle friendly’ shopping bags, andgiving to others through ‘The Giving Tree’. They have also begun to partner with community organizations, such as JindeNGO (Community Organization), Save the Pangolin (Wildlife China) and SeniorLiving L’Amore.

‘Save the Turtles’ Shopping bags designed by IEYC students (Goal 14)

Fair Trade Organic Coffee at the IEYC Coffee Shop (Goal 11)

‘Save the Pangolin’ Project (Goal 15)

Parent meeting learning about Service and Action and the UN Sustainable Goals at IEYC with Service and Action Cooridnator, Margot Marks

Inquiry Based Learning

The story of how modeling a lump of clay led to volcanoes, dinosaurs and conservation

Education is not the filling of a pailbut the lighting of a fire.– William Butler Yeats
Parents or visitors who visit Innova Early Years Center (EYC), are surprised by the open-style warm learning environment, amazing children’s works, and engaged learners. People may wonder how learning occurs in a child centered inquiry play based learning environment. How are knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills acquired?Lets take a look at a recent child centered inquiry that started off with a lmp of clay and took children into a journey of deep and complex learning.
The origin of the story – A Volcano

Shortly after the new school year started, some clay was introduced to children and Ivy started modeling with it –exploring its feel and texture.

Having heard something about volcanoes she shared with her teacher that she had made a volcano. Inspired by this, teachers introduced some household  products – including baking powder and vinegar and some children joined in to experiment what happens when they are mixed. A volcanic eruption was created and all the children couldn’t wait to explore more.

It was time to turn the volcano into an island and with plants and animals and surrounded by sea. A boy with keen interest in dinosaurs and a recent trip to the Blue Zoo led to their own Jurassic Park like environment full of discussions, explorations and creativity.

One day the volcano erupted, and the hot and thick ‘magma’ poured out of the crater, and the peaceful and beautiful environment began to change. After seeing the eruption of the volcano, our kind hearted Ivy was particularly worried that the dinosaurs would be hurt, so she moved them to a safe zone. Her classmate Dino, who has a keen interest and lots of knowledge about dinosaurs, explained to everyone that the dinosaurs became extinct just because of such a reason. Wonder, explore, create, connect – the childrens’ interest had been sparked and already had acquired deep learning in language, history and natural science – intense focus and deep learning.

The development – An Island

The volcanic eruption caused the change of the environment, the dinosaurs became extinct, and the children were very sad. In order to transfer this negative sentimental emotion, teachers went on to tell the story of the volcano. The eruption of the volcano is not necessarily a bad thing, because it makes a new environment. So the story of an island came into being. This is a small island in Australia. Long long time ago, this small island was made by a volcanic eruption. The magma of volcanic eruption flowed down to the foot of the mountain, and cooled down. From the smoke came ash that many plants started to grow in.

Interest shifted to the sea and animals living in it particularly sharks, jelly fish and turtles. Our director John McBryde visited the class and shared his first hand experiences of climbing volcanoes and seeing eruptions. Everyone clamoured onto a green screen set to experience a virtual eruption. He also shared his story about turtles from when he lived on a small tropical island and seeing turtles laying their eggs. He shared some pictures of the local islanders who lived there and pictures of them dancing. Next everyone was up learning and signing a traditional island dance. Through this sharing the children come into contact with another culture that is different from their own.

The Climax – About turtles

A teacher shared a video about turtles laying eggs and eating plastic bags in the sea which they thought were jelly fish. The children wondered what would happen if they ate a plastic bag and put some bags into an aquarium and quickly realized how easy it is for a turtle to mistake a plastic bag for a jelly fish and how dangerous they are to them.

The children wondered what they could do and decided it was time to let other people know about this problem and to think of an alternative to using plastic bags each time they went shopping.

The children designed a cloth bag and drew pictures of turtles to print on it. Their teacher produced a set of bags and parents bought the shopping bags with their strong ‘conservation’ message.  (United Nations Sustainable Goal 13 – Life beneath the Sea).  Learning empathy, responsibility and taking action.

The end thoughts

The volcano is still standing in the middle of the class classroom, and continues to remind children about their inquiry and continues to excite new conversations. The learning that has taken place has been based on “experience”, is because the learning here is more of a process of a “experience”: in a context of with children guiding the questions and constructing their own knowledge, from each other, discussions, books and videos and classroom guests.

Big concepts have been explored – the geology of a volcano, chemistry, biological diversity, dinosaurs, extinction, pollution, conservation, indigenous peoples, culture.

During the process, teachers play the role of a guide and provocateur. Respecting childrens’ curiosity, questions and creativity, teachers facilitated an exciting and engaging learning environment to excite their inquiry and enrich their learning. This type of learning has a far-reaching impact on young children with lifelong benefit.

Innova EYC incorporates a Reggio Emilla inspired approach to early years education. This approach believes that education should develop children’s creativity so that children can form a perfect personality. Its creator Loris Malaguzzi has written a famous book “One hundred languages of children ” which describes children as having……

‘one hundred languages,

one hundred hands,

one hundred thoughts,

one hundred ways of thinking, games and talk’

Innova Early Years Centre encourages this diversity of expression and learning to support children and their optimal development.