Yau Yih Yun History
In early 1986, a steering committee was set up to establish the Wellington Chinese Sports & Cultural Centre Yau-Yih-Yun. It had the support of the WCSCC by way of a grant for resources and equipment and the use of its facilities free of charge. It brought together a group of families interested in maintaining oral Cantonese for their preschoolers in the NZ environment. It was hoped that the children would extend their Cantonese vocab and development through activities and learning not too different from other NZ Preschool institutions.
By September 1986, YYY was up and running with two 2 hour sessions a week using two different volunteer language tutors. What hadn’t been taken into consideration was the wide range of levels in Cantonese both with the parents and the children. As the work at this stage was voluntary, the tutors were responsible only for guided learning sessions with heavy reliance on parent involvement. A team of parents in conjunction with the tutors set topics and vocab to be taught and from there other parents were responsible for setting up and devising activities relating to the language taught. Parent input was also necessary to guide the language teachers in skills used to teach young children.
Since then YYY has followed a very similar format with a thematic approach to language learning. Each year its committee has tried very hard to accommodate the forever changing needs of YYY children by using different methods, changing the timetable, structure etc.
1991 saw a breakthrough, with the granting of an Early Childhood Development Unit (ECDU) grant to be used in the purchase of teaching resources, art/craft materials etc. This meant that all fees could be freed to pay a Teacher. What bliss it was to be able to dangle a carrot and tempt someone. However, they too had to be trained to cater to the needs of our children, but it meant that in some ways the parent preparation load was a little lighter and parents were freed to participate more with their own child.
By 1992 we had a fully trained teacher with the time and effort to put into preparing a whole session with minimal coaching from parents and only requiring parent support and respect. Here too was someone who could translate our many resources, device and plan all activities, produce song sheets without too much effort. Parents are now freed up to focus on their children during the sessions.