Updated: Sep 29, 2022
Laughter, big smiles and wishes of “Happy Birthday” were in abundance during Learning Day last Friday. Other than being a centre-closure day for a time for rest, reflection, fun, and bonding, 1 April 2022 also marked our “hatch” day - the first official day of Presbyterian Preschool Services (PPS) being our own entity, separate from Presbyterian Community Services (PCS).
To warm ourselves up for the day’s activities, all centres joined in to do the “Chicken Dance” led by the staff at our HQ office. It was such a light-hearted and active way to start off the day as we not only danced physically at our own locations, but could also watch and connect with others in various locations! We were thankful to still be able to gather in some way under different roofs - but as one people, one organisation.
Staff having loads of fun doing the Chicken Dance!
After that, our Executive Director, Lim Ee Tuo, shared more about our Learning Day theme, “The Road Ahead”. He reminded us about the importance of Teamwork, Unity, Humility, Courage and Focus even as we take on the challenges that may come our way in the upcoming year.
“In our organisation, no matter who you are, all of us matter. It is not the job or position that defines us. But each one of us is precious - we want to treat each other with respect and recognise that we need to take care of one another. We cannot depend on the strength of one person.” - Executive Director, Lim Ee Tuo
We then took some time to do some individual reflections, meditating on the words of Hebrews 12:1-2:
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
We also pondered on the following: our purpose in PPS, our role, contributions and what we hope to achieve in The Road Ahead.
A new English teacher, Ms Floriemar Joy Dionio Gape from Bukit Batok Centre shared,“It is a good start for me to bond with my colleagues and through that message about “The Road Ahead” gives me a good perspective and what to expect and what I can contribute to the organisation as well.
I am grateful to be part of this organisation and I want to do my part responsibly and to work harmoniously with my colleague and to do what is expected to contribute to children’s holistic development. I want to impart my passion in teaching that fuels purpose.”
The precious time of reflection and sharing really created a safe space for each of us to be vulnerable with each other and encourage each other in our individual and collective journey.
“在相互分享环节，让我有机会去了解其他同事们的想法与感受，和她们的关系更近了一步。 [Through open and mutual sharing, I had the chance to better understand my colleagues’ thoughts and feelings, which brought our relationship to a deeper level.] ” - Xia Lan, Chinese Teacher, Hougang Centre
Another teacher shared that she was feeling hopeful for the road ahead this year. "I expect a lot of bumpy roads and sudden turns but l’m positive that I can go on and reach the goal of course with God’s help and with the people around especially in our organisation, if everyone will do his part, we’ll surely succeed in achieving the mission.
As a teacher, I would like to improve myself in facilitating the activities to the children and in creating a conducive and enriched environment for learning. I’m still a work in progress in my role but I’ll try to do my best little by little to achieve what I always wanted , to help children develop to their optimum capabilities and most especially to help them grow with moral values," added Ms Oledan Christian Merro, an English Teacher from Pasir Ris 51 Centre.
After the reflection exercise, we kick-started all our exciting activities within each of the individual centres! One key activity was designing our “Chic” Yarn Letters, which spelled out “Truth”, “Beauty” and “Goodness”, the values that shape PPS’ educational mission. These letters were then put up in the centres as both aesthetic and useful reminders of how we should go about teaching and loving the children.
Our staff thoroughly enjoyed the collaborative and creative activity that required more effort and teamwork than most had expected.
“The yarn activity was enjoyable but also rather challenging as it was something new. Learnt about patience and lots of necessary focus,” said Jessica Gan, a Learning Support Teacher at Training and Research Academy at Jurong Point Shopping Centre (TaRA@JP).
“Doing the letters with yarn is the same with our work in the centre, everyone is needed, everyone has to do their part to achieve the goal without burning out everyone; division of labour is important and co-operation as a group plays a vital role in an organisation. "Together we stand, divided we fall” is also seen in this activity.” - Oledan Christian Merro, English Teacher, Pasir Ris 51 Centre
One of our most anticipated activities is always “makan” fellowship - in fact some centres decided to prepare and cook their own lunch together! Some others ordered their favourite fast food, which was equally enjoyable.
Having a meal together is always a great way to for bond and get to know each other better!
“My centre cooked together! It was an interesting experience tasting and cooking different cuisines. I cooked a cold Chinese dish — chicken feet, while others cooked chicken and tofu adobo, which is a filipino recipe. Through the cooking we were able to learn more about each other’s culture, and food is always the best way to bond!” shared Melissa Low, Early Intervention and Early Childhood Trainee, Woodlands Centre.
A few centres also took the time to set personal, class and centre-wide goals with their colleagues, and do some spring cleaning. Some centres such as Bukit Batok Centre played games to get to know each other better!
“I had fun and enjoyed the game about communication - a very simple game that reminded us that “open-communication is very important, not only towards our colleagues or parents but as well towards the children. Each has its own perspective and we should be open and ready to listen to one another to avoid misunderstandings.” - Ms Floriemar Joy Dionio Gape, Bukit Batok Centre.
All in all, we were glad for a day to slow down, think about our next steps, and spend some unrivalled quality time having fun and chatting with our colleagues.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to unwind and bond with my colleagues through the activities planned for us.” - Joed Che, Educational Support Teacher, Jurong West Centre
Only by first taking care of ourselves, can we then give our best to the children, with God’s strength and favour!