This past May and June, faculty and staff from Humber’s Early Childhood Education program were excited to welcome two groups of students and faculty from Asia for a two-week immersive experience. 

Eleven students and one faculty member from the Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Education program at Tung Wah College in Hong Kong, and eight students and two faculty members from the Education Department at Beijing City University in Beijing visited Humber to learn about Early Childhood Education practices in Canada. Humber’s ECE faculty delivered hands-on workshops on topics such as loose parts, risky play, nature education, inclusion, and social justice, all of which are pillars of Humber’s Early Childhood Education diploma program.

Each group’s visit began with a workshop entitled “Introduction to Early Childhood Education in Canada.” Throughout the workshop, according to Professor Anthony Randall, “we examined the guiding principles of the new federal Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework - quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility, and inclusivity - to give the students an overview of core beliefs shared by diverse communities within the country.” 

For Yue Jiang, a Beijing City University student, “the loose parts workshop was the highlight of this visit. The teaching method in this workshop made it a very enjoyable experience.” 

Tung Wah College student Sze Tsun Poon agreed that the workshop was a refreshing learning experience, noting that “it is uncommon to have free play in Hong Kong, so this workshop inspired me to bring this kind of free play back to Hong Kong.”

The students also visited a number of Toronto childcare centres, including Humber’s Child Development Centre, where they accompanied the staff and children into the arboretum for the Forest Nature Program and learned about outdoor education and the importance of risky play.

“The Forest Nature Program was great,” says Tung Wah College student Ngar Yeng Ko, “as we don’t have any chance to play games in the forest in Hong Kong … I feel great about this experience and learned a lot through this workshop.” 

“One of our mandates in Humber’s Early Childhood Education program is that we strive to graduate early childhood educators who see themselves as global citizens, and one of the best ways to do that is by providing opportunities to experience how children are educated and cared for in other countries,” says Lisa Salem-Wiseman, Associate Dean in the School of Health Sciences. “We also welcome this opportunity to share our best practices in early learning and care with students from around the world.” 

“This international program was of so much value - it opened our eyes to the early childhood practices in Canada,” says Frances Lee, a professor at Tung Wah College. “We also had opportunities to meet the students who were studying ECE at Humber, to hear more about how well their college has prepared them for working with young children.”