Individual Award

Dr Pansy Tam Po-chi
Assistant Professor, Department of Early Childhood Education

Dr Tam’s research interests mainly lie in using cultural and poststructuralist theories to understand the practice of drama education, children’s play and early childhood curriculum.

Playful Learning: Ploughing Drama Education for Innovating the Preschool Curriculum and Pedagogy in Hong Kong (PDE) (2018-2021) is a drama education partnership project, formed by the Department of Early Childhood Education (ECE) and the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, with a total funding over $8,720,000 from the D H Chen Foundation. Its aim is to promote drama-enhanced curricula and pedagogical practices and professional drama development for teachers in local early childhood education. Over $1,250,000 of the funding has been allocated to a project evaluation and a multiple case study of the partner schools’ good practices, led by Dr Tam as Principal Investigator. Dr Tam evaluates the degree, quality and innovation shown in the schools’ drama integrated curriculum and everyday teaching, while her case study identifies the necessary conditions for the sustainable development of drama education in local early childhood education. In the past few years, the PDE project has helped 85 kindergartens adopt drama education as a curriculum and pedagogical innovation.

Owing to the healing and transformative functions of art, drama and play, an ad hoc project, named Happy Restart, Reunion and Resilience: Drama Pedagogy to Support Teachers’ and Children’s Return to School after the Pandemic (the Happy 4Rs) was launched in early October 2020. The major support strategy was to create an online platform with teaching resources, such as teaching plans, videos and materials on pandemic-related issues. A pilot study was conducted in late June to solicit the views of 74 preschool teachers on the resources and their pedagogical needs during the pandemic, which served as the basis for a project upgrade. The project held a webinar on 28 November 2020 to promote understanding of the importance of arts education to children’s well-being and building teachers’ resilience during the pandemic. The webinar attracted 180 participants from four countries and received very positive feedback.

Dr Tam has made a significant contribution to the promotion of drama education and to quality improvement in early childhood education in Hong Kong.

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