Department of Early Childhood Education (ECE)
| Professor CHUNG Kevin Kien Hoa
Director/ Chair Professor, Department of Early Childhood Education
| Dr Ian LAM Chun-bun
Co-Director/ Associate Head and Associate Professor,
Department of Early Childhood Education
The Simon K. Y. Lee Foundation donated $19 million to the University in 2015 to support a four-year project, titled, “3Es: Early Prevention, Early Identification, and Early Intervention: A School-Based Support Model of Social-Emotional Development for Kindergarten Children.” The project sought to develop an evidence-based, culturally responsive intervention programme that promotes the socioemotional competence of K2 and K3 children in Hong Kong. In the past few years, the project achieved many good outcomes, making a real difference in the field of early childhood and special education. Notably, all of these outcomes are based on both qualitative and quantitative data collected from children in Hong Kong.
In practical terms, the team empowered 24 kindergartens to implement the intervention programme, benefiting some 1,400 children and their parents and teachers. A clustered, randomized wait-list control study indicated that the programme was effective in promoting children’s cognitive control, emotion understanding, emotion expressivity, and empathy and other prosocial behaviours – soft skills that are crucial for subsistence and success in the 21 century.
In theoretical terms, the team published its work in international journals, including the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Early Education and Development, Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, and Social Development. These findings not only provided new knowledge in the academic arena, but also directed the design of the intervention programme, truly embodying the ideal of using research to inform practice.
Finally, the team maximized the project outcomes by integrating their knowledge and experience into several in-service teacher-training programmes. They also shared their work, in the form of newsletters, teaching aids and family activities, through their website and social media platforms, for community members to download for free. The number of children, parents and teachers who benefited through these public channels is uncountable.
Under the leadership of Professor Chung and Dr Lam, the team demonstrated dedication, innovation and inspiration. The result is a scientifically rigorous, locally derived protocol that effectively promotes children’s socioemotional competence in a Chinese community. Building on its success, the project has been extended for two years, this time seeking to disseminate the intervention programme to more and more kindergartens in Hong Kong.