YCIS Shanghai is the longest-established independent international school
in the region and has a reputation for academic excellence that develops well-rounded,
globally-minded students. Given the demand for their Early Childhood
Education program, in 2017 YCIS hired Fielding Nair International (FNI)
to design a state-of-the-art Ronghua Campus for their youngest learners.
This renovation turned a derelict building into a happy and exciting world of play.
This new campus is one of the best three-dimensional illustrations of
YCIS founder Dr. Betty Chan’s pioneering philosophy that has redefined
what modern day Chinese education can and should look like. Dr. Chan
and the Yew Chung Philosophy celebrate play-based and project-based
learning, which is a radical departure from traditional education in China.
Ronghau Campus was awarded the prestigious Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green
Building Council and is the very first school campus in all of Shanghai
to receive a LEED award.
Play is an important component in the YCIS curriculum, and this influenced
the interior design as well. Built-ins that surprise and delight students are
Large open spaces allow teachers and students to create zones that can evolve
day to day, and month to month. Students are encouraged to move through
the space, and be active.
This built-in platform serves multiple creative uses. It can function as a stage, a place to rest,
and a reading spot, sometimes all at once. The connection to nature through
transparency and layers of live plants is nurturing to the young children.
Parts of the roof are also utilized for learning and active play. Note that the
windows are designed so that even the youngest students can see out.