YCIS Preschool

Preschoolers discover the world as they gain confidence and independence in a joyful, hands-on, bilingual learning environment.

YCIS Preschool

Inspiring Curiosity, Creativity and Discovery

Curiosity, wonder and exploration abound in our classrooms, where English and Mandarin teachers work in teams to create a joyful, experiential learning environment.

In our inquiry-based approach to learning, children actively participate, investigate and experiment to find out about the world. Teachers support children’s interests through meaningful and authentic experiences. With a wide variety of multi-sensory learning resources and open-ended materials, children’s imaginations soar while they build skills and knowledge across all learning areas. Our outdoor play areas and indoor gym provide ample space for getting out, moving around and exploring.

Nurturing the Whole Child

Our whole child approach fosters children’s confidence and independence in all areas of development, providing students with a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning and future participation as citizens of the world. As children’s minds grow, so do their hearts. Preschoolers learn what it means to be a friend, to include others, to share and to collaborate. Through modeling, guidance, discussion and giving students opportunities to practice, teachers support children to grow in empathy and gain appropriate skills to negotiate conflicts and to manage their own feelings and actions. Preschoolers also gain autonomy and independence by learning to manage age-appropriate tasks on a daily basis.

Typical Day in Preschool

YCIS Preschool Preschool girl playing with colors

The preschool is open from 8:00am to 6:00pm.

Preschool children are grouped together by age. The daily schedule is modified and flexible to meet the needs of the class with a longer nap time for our youngest students. Our classrooms and Co-Teachers allow for an abundance of opportunities daily for children to grow and explore. Children are provided with extended periods of play in order to follow their own interests and curiosities in a safe school setting. The learning environments that our classrooms provide are intentionally prepared to develop knowledge and respond to children’s own interests as they enquire about the world in which they live. A typical preschool day will include a mix of free choice exploration time, outdoor play and small group activities as well as whole group gathering times. Two nutritious snacks are provided daily. Parents send lunch with their child or purchase lunch through the school’s designated catering service.

Preschool Program Overview

Our bilingual preschool program takes place in a nurturing environment that enables children to exercise initiative, make decisions and construct a hands-on understanding of the world through two languages, English and Mandarin. An integrated curriculum based on children’s interests comprises learning activities covering a range of areas rather than isolated subjects to further children’s learning and development. Learning experiences are carefully planned to be culturally, developmentally, educationally and individually appropriate. The best of Western and Eastern teaching approaches are combined with a focus on the process of learning rather than the product. Developing creativity, cooperative learning, investigation and problem-solving skills is an important component of the program. Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage of the United Kingdom and the California Preschool Learning Foundations provide practice guidance for our preschool teachers.

The Yew Chung Approach

YCIS Silicon Valley’s preschool program follows the model developed by the Yew Chung organization over the past few decades. The Yew Chung Approach is a unique educational practice that supports multicultural learners within a multilingual learning context. It is an approach that thoughtfully and intentionally bridges the sociocultural values in Hong Kong and Progressive educational philosophies developed in European and American contexts. The Yew Chung Approach is exemplified by Twelve Values which places a conception of children as highly capable and active agents in their own learning at the center while supporting multilingualism and promoting interaction. The Twelve Values are:

  1. Children are worthy of our respect and admiration.
  2. Children are capable and can be trusted.
  3. Members of the teaching team work together as equals.
  4. Strong relationships must be developed between teachers and children.
  5. Teachers support relationships between children.
  6. Children learn through an emergent curriculum.
  7. Teachers and children construct learning together.
  8. Children initiate and lead activities.
  9. Children are supported in the use of their home language.
  10. Children are supported as emergent multi-linguals.
  11. Children use language to solve academic and social problems.
  12. Teachers make intentional connections to academic skills within child-led experiences.
Our Co-Teaching Model

YCIS’s Co-Teaching Model is a unique feature in our educational approach. English and Mandarin co-teachers work together to create a joyful, nurturing and engaging bilingual learning environment for children.  Co-teaching effectively facilitates the bilingual learning environment where both Chinese and English languages are equally valued. Through close collaboration, co-teachers build welcoming and inclusive classrooms where diversity is respected and everyone is a friend. Each preschool classroom has a Co-Teaching Team with one English-speaking teacher and one Mandarin-speaking teacher, and is supported by a fully qualified assistant teacher.  Teachers each speak their native language with their students. YCIS Silicon Valley’s preschool teachers are all experienced, professionally trained early childhood educators. They are passionate about teaching and engage in regular professional development. Working as a team, the preschool teachers’ enthusiasm, care and warmth shine through in their classrooms and in their relationships with the children and families they serve.

Inquiry-Based Learning

Our inquiry-based learning approach starts with children’s interests and natural curiosity about the world around them. Preschoolers love to ask questions, problem solve and discuss. Teachers pay close attention to the questions children ask. They have conversations and discussions. They watch and engage with children as they play and explore. Then, they design activities and experiences to help children dig deeper into their interests and challenge their learning. It is not unusual to see a classroom transform into a jungle, a doctor’s office or a pizza parlor. Teachers may organize field trips to extend learning beyond the classroom with a visit to a zoo or even invite an expert such as a NASA astronaut to visit.

Seven Areas of Learning

With a whole child approach, learning activities are designed around nurturing children in seven areas of learning:

  •      Personal, Social, and Emotional Development
  •      Physical Development
  •      Communication and Language
  •      Literacy
  •      Mathematics
  •      Understanding the World
  •      Expressive Arts and Design

Teachers constantly monitor each child’s individual progress. They collaborate to document this progress in an individual student portfolio as well as through reports for parents twice annually.

Bilingualism: Learning in Two Languages

Preschoolers develop literacy and communication skills in both English and Mandarin through natural daily exposure in a dual-immersion learning environment. All children develop literacy skills at their own rates and in their own unique ways. Preschool teachers provide many opportunities and activities for children:

  • to have continuous exposure to print
  • to develop an interest in books and stories
  • to develop an awareness of the sounds, letters and symbols of language
  • to gain an understanding that words have meaning

Children build their vocabularies and confidence in speaking through play and exploration while also building the fine motor skills they need to use writing tools effectively. By being challenged at their own level, children gain confidence in their growing abilities and build a strong foundation for the formal language instruction they will encounter in Kindergarten.

The Importance of Play and Exploration

We believe playful learning is how young children learn best.  YCIS preschoolers are encouraged to direct their own play as well as engage in guided play activities with their teachers. Through play, children:

  • make sense of the world and consolidate every kind of learning
  • put their ideas into action
  • learn to communicate effectively
  • discover how to get along with other children
  • make things happen and enjoy a sense of mastery
  • experiment and try things out
  • learn to focus attention and concentrate for long periods of time
  • work out their feelings in acceptable ways
  • grow their imaginations and creativity


Home-School Connections

For young children, school is their home away from home. We communicate with parents about their children’s school experiences in many ways. Teachers provide bi-weekly newsletters with photos and stories about class activities, create individual student portfolios to track each child’s development throughout the year, send home two student progress reports annually, and meet parents for parent-teacher conferences. Parents are also welcome to volunteer as room parents and chaperones for field trips, participate in class and school events, and support the community-building efforts of the YCIS Parent Organization.

Transitional Kindergarten & Kindergarten Transition

The Preschool program is designed to provide children with a positive start to their education and prepare them cognitively and socially for the more formal school environment they will encounter in elementary school. Preschool, TK, and Kindergarten teachers work closely together to plan and implement activities throughout the year to prepare children for a smooth transition to Kindergarten. During the school year, preschoolers visit the TK and Kindergarten classrooms, enjoy meeting the Kindergarten teachers when they visit preschool, and participate in some events on the K-8 campus.

Give your child the confidence to explore, adapt and succeed as a globally aware citizen of our world. Learn more about YCIS.