The Hong Kong Institute of Education has launched an early childhood learning centre to provide an experimental base for quality education, academic research and teacher training. The HSBC Early Childhood Learning Centre, officially opened on Thurdsay, offered pre-service and in-service teachers a facility for professional development, said Professor Lorna Chan Kim-sang, dean of HKIEd's School of Early Childhood Education and school manager of the new learning centre. The model pre-school also aimed to promote innovative approaches in early childhood education by disseminating its successful experiences to teachers in other schools, she said. The campus, converted from five former units for senior HKIEd teaching staff, is now accommodating 140 three-month to six-year-old children who attend its creche, child care and kindergarten sections. The learning centre, which is self-financed, has received a donation of $7.85 million from the Hong Kong Bank Foundation. It will be headed by Yu Chan Wai-ling, a lecturer at the School of Early Childhood Education at the HKIEd, while other institute teaching staff will be responsible for professional development and curriculum design. Professor Chan said the centre adopted the 'social constructivist approach', with a curriculum framework based on personal experience and exploration. 'Our students are encouraged to ask questions in anything they come across in their living environment and to look for the answers themselves. We hope they can build up an understanding of the world through their own experience,' she said. The pre-school also aims to highlight the essence of home-school co-operation in early childhood education. It includes a parent centre, equipped with seminar rooms and a collection of parenting materials.