Children’s Projects

The Simon K. Y. Lee Children’s Fund ("the Children’s Fund") was set up in 2011 as a daughter fund of the Simon K. Y. Lee Foundation, with a mission to tackle intergenerational poverty through education, including:

  • Help children from deprived families to develop a strong foundation in learning, thereby enhancing their prospects for success
  • Reduce the disparity in learning between children from deprived families and those from well-off families

We take a proactive role in identifying the problem and bringing together individuals and organizations with passion and expertise in the area to create new solutions. Through initiating projects combining research and frontline service, we devise intervention models and then promote effective measures to the sector and the government in order to amplify the impact. 


Advisory Committee

The Children’s Fund is governed by the Board of the Simon K Y Lee Foundation and assisted by an Advisory Committee currently comprising (in alphabetical order):

  • Prof. Doris CHENG, Professor, School of Arts and Humanities, Tung Wah College
  • Prof. CHENG Kai Ming, SBS, JP, Professor, Chair of Education, The University of Hong Kong
  • CHEUNG Hing Wah, BBS, former Deputy Director of Social Welfare (Services), Social Welfare Department, The HKSAR Government
  • Justina LEUNG, former Director, The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong
  • Prof. Daniel SHEK, BBS, SBS, JP, Associate Vice President (Undergraduate Programme) and Chair Professor, Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Dr. Sandra TSANG, JP, Associate Professor, Department of Social Work & Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong 
  • Dr. Sanly TSANG, Consultant, Council of Non-profit Making Organizations for Pre-primary Education & Vice-President, Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association (Hong Kong)


Early Childhood Development

A child’s foundation years are critical to his/her development, and lay the foundation for later success in school and beyond. Nevertheless, most deprived families in Hong Kong lack the capacity to provide the necessary nurturing for their young children. Besides, social services and support for deprived preschoolers are inadequate. As a result, children from deprived families often lag behind their peers. In view of the social problem and service gap, the Children’s Fund concentrates its resources on this specific target group and initiates research and service projects to help them get onto a level playing field hence being more able to tackle intergenerational poverty.


Research and Model Building: Simon K Y Lee Children's Fund - FLY Project®


The Children’s Fund launched the 1st phase of Simon K Y Lee Children’s Fund – FLY Project® (“FLY”) in 2013, in accordance with its signature “Service – Research – Public Education” strategy. An evidence-based early intervention programme was devised by Prof Cynthia Leung of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Dr Sandra Tsang of The University of Hong Kong to enhance the learning and development of preschoolers aged 1.5 from deprived families before kindergarten entry. 
Given the proven effectiveness of the programme and the success of the 1st phase, the Children’s Fund has then launched the 2nd phase in 2016/17, the 3rd phase in 2017/18 and the 4th phase in 2018/19 respectively to disseminate FLY® and encourage the social welfare sector to develop quality early intervention service for preschoolers from deprived families, thus narrowing the service gap. 
The Children’s Fund has provided capacity building package, in addition to funding support, for NGO partners. This includes FLY® programme manual, staff training and consultation services. Staff of NGOs has been more professional, skillful and confident in providing early intervention service, thus improving the prospect of sustainability. 
Around 1,000 dyads have be served under the four phases of FLY®. No. of NGO partners reaches 22 and all the 18 districts in Hong Kong have been covered. 
FLY® contains 55 sessions, each comprising one hour of child-learning and one-hour of parent education, over a period of seven to eight months. It covers different aspects of child-development such as cognitive, preschool concept, language, social, gross and fine motor, behavior and parent-child relationship. 
Funding amount (research, service and capacity building): $22M
To see the list of NGOs participating in FLY IV, please click here

Community Service : Early Start Project for Infants and Preschoolers


To encourage NGOs to start and develop specific service for children aged 0 to 3 from deprived families, the Simon K Y Lee Children’s Fund has launched two phases of Early Start Project for Infants and Preschoolers since 2012. The 1st phase was organized by Caritas Integrated Family Service Centre – Tsuen Wan (East), serving 180 families from deprived backgrounds. After its conclusion in 2013, some parent participants formed mutual support groups. They kept going to the Centre regularly and took turns to organise and conduct parent-child activities, utilizing the experience and skills learned from the Project to help each other. 
Seeing the positive feedback and service needs, the Children’s Fund launched the 2nd phase of the Project in early 2014. We partnered with six NGOs and the districts covered have spread to including Tsuen Wan, Kwai Tsing, Wong Tai Sin, Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, Southern District, Sai Kung and Central & Western District, benefiting about 440 families. The Project contains: 
  • Preschoolers’ programmes including playgroups, reading groups and baby massage groups to enhance the cognitive, language, social and emotional development of infants and preschoolers.
  • Parent training including Child-Centred Play Therapy and Triple P Effective Parenting workshops to improve the parents’ parenting skills.
  • Talks, consultation, assessment and referral service by professionals such as dentists, nurses and speech therapists to enhance the parents’ knowledge on child development and provide follow-up for preschoolers found to have developmental problems. 
  • Home visits to new mothers by trained volunteers and mutual parent support groups to provide a platform for peer interaction and support.
Funding amount (service and research): $2.43M
Newsletter of the 1st Phase of the Project

School-Based Support Model to Prevent and Address Challenging Social-Emotional Difficulties of Kindergarten Children 

In Hong Kong, it is estimated that 7% to 8% of kindergarten children experience social-emotional difficulties (Note 1). Nevertheless, support for these children is inadequate and kindergarten teachers may not have enough capacity and training to deal with the issue. This often affects classroom management, and also teaching and learning effectiveness of all the children in the class. 
In view of this, the Simon K Y Lee Children’s Fund launched the Project “3Es: Early Prevention, Early Identification and Early Intervention: A School-Based Support Model of Social-Emotional Development for Kindergarten Children” (“3E® ”) in 2015. The 4-year project is led by Prof Kevin Chung, Head of Department of Early Childhood Education, The Education University of Hong Kong (“EdUHK”).   (Please click here for project website)
3E® aims to develop a tiered model of Response to Intervention (“RTI”). For “Tier 1”, training has been provided for all K2 and K3 children to enhance their social-emotional competency (early prevention). A screening tool has been designed and validated for teachers to identify children who do not respond well in Tier 1 (early identification). These children, who are at risk of socio-emotional difficulties, enter “Tier 1+” and receive intensive and tailored training in small group settings (early intervention). Besides, parents have been provided with seminars and workshops to enhance their knowledge and skills in assisting their children. 24 kindergartens have participated in the project. More than 4000 students and their parents and 200 teachers have benefited. 
Kindergarten teachers have been be trained to deliver the above intervention and screening. The model will be incorporated into the curriculum of EdUHK’S bachelor and professional training programmes targeting future and in-service kindergarten teachers. 
No research work has been devoted in Hong Kong before to examining the social-emotional competence of K2 and K3 children and their parents. The findings from the project will push the frontier of understanding concerning the effective integration of early identification and preventive intervention in education research as well as helping young children at risk.
Funding amount : $19M
Note 1: One in every thirteen preschoolers is suspected to have developmental delays. (2014, November). Hong Kong Economic Times. Retrieved from Sin, K. F., Lan, Y., & Lui, M. (2014, October). Teacher preparation for identifying and intervening children at risk of developmental. Paper presented at The 17th Unesco-ApeidInternational Conference, Pullman Hotel King Power, Thailand.

Whole and Inclusive School Empowerment ("WISE Project")

WISE aims to devise a model on whole-school approach to enhance the capacity of mainstream preschools in addressing student diversity. Funding is provided for NGOs and preschools to engage Educational Psychologists (“EPs”) and senior teachers to provide assessment and tailor-made intervention for children, especially those at risk of or at borderline of special learning needs and developmental issues. Training and support has been provided for teachers, parents and school to acquire skills and develop policies to better cater for and manage learning diversity. 
The project started in December 2016 and is led by Professor Cynthia Leung and Dr Janet Leung of Department of Applied Social Sciences at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (“Poly U”), and has been extended twice. Eleven preschools under the operation of five NGOs have participated in the project. The NGO partners namely are Caritas Hong Kong, Heep Hong Society, Hong Kong Christian Service, Po Leung Kuk, and Tung Wah Group of Hospitals. 
Funding amount: $9.76M