HKBU SCE 45th Anniversary International Conference attracts about 500 participants to share on nature-based early childhood education
16 DEC 2020
The School of Continuing Education of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU SCE) organised the “45th Anniversary International Conference – Wonder and Discovery: Celebrating Nature-based Early Childhood Education” on 4 and 5 December 2020. The online conference attracted about 500 participants from 19 countries and regions to share the latest research, best practices and experiences of nature-based early childhood education.
Renowned keynote speakers included Prof. Claudia GIUDICI, President of Reggio Children, Italy; Dr. Claire WARDEN, Education Consultant, UK; Ms. Jena JAUCHIUS, Landscape Architect, USA; Ms. SO Yuen Yi, Principal Assistant Secretary (Kindergarten Education) Policy Support of the Education Bureau (EDB), Mr. LAI Chuen Chi, Assistant Director (Country and Marine Parks) of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD).
In the opening remarks, Prof. Roland CHIN, President and Vice Chancellor of HKBU, said, “As educators, we ought to be committed to preparing our children for possible challenging situations and equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills to survive and thrive in this world. Nature-based education makes it possible for us to train our children to be strong, adaptive, and resilient, and help them navigate through changes and challenges in the future.”
Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, Mr. Clemente CONTESTABILE, Consul General of Italy in Hong Kong, said, “The Italian society centers on very strong family bonds, just like the Chinese society. Italy has produced the 20th century’s most innovative and influential approaches in early childhood education, the Montessori Approach which emphasises children’s independent capability in initiating learning, and the Reggio Children Approach, which considers children having the potential for development if they learn and grow in relationship with others.”
Prof. Claudia GIUDICI shared in the keynote speech that the Reggio Emilia approach originated from Reggio Emilia emphasises children’s curiosity, exploration and self-directed learning. Children learn from interacting with the environment, both indoor and outdoor.
Dr. Amelia LEE, Chairperson of the Conference’s Organising Committee, Associate Dean (Programme Development) cum Head of Early Childhood and Elementary Education of SCE, said, “The 2-day conference brought together ten speakers to share topics which are intellectually stimulating and fruitful. It provides a platform for the sharing of latest research and the exchange of expert ideas and opinions, as well as concrete suggestions for principles and strategies in conducting nature-based education. Our collective efforts have the potential to make a difference to the futures of many children and their families.”
The online international conference is a signature event in celebration of the 45th Anniversary of HKBU SCE, and also a continuation of the school’s effort to foster nature-based early childhood education after working with the EDB and AFCD of the government in designing nature-based learning resource centres in Hong Kong back in 2017. The conference was sponsored by the Research Matching Grant Scheme of the Research Grant Council, and Kwok Chung Bo Fun Charitable Fund.