Building Connections Between Year Levels
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” No words ring truer.
When Dr Rae Wang, our school’s Chinese Vice Principal came up with the idea to have Secondary students usher their Primary colleagues to class during the first few weeks of school, she was inspired by two things. The short-term motive was to create a safe and welcoming environment for our younger students who were coming back to school either for the first time or after a long gap as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The long-term purpose tied in with our mission of “raising compassionate leaders with a servant’s heart.”
Due to the epidemic prevention measures, parents were unable to escort their children to their learning spaces, so students would walk into the campus alone, greeted by teachers and members of the SLT before heading to their Learning Communities with their teachers.
At a CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) lesson – a compulsory subject designed to encourage students to engage in charity of some form – Dr Wang shared this observation with students and asked them to ponder it. In a short time they were all on board.
Although participating in this activity is incentivised with points for the overall CAS score, Dr Wang, Mr Mellen and Secondary teachers noted much “passion” among the overseeing students. “You could see that every day the Year 12 and Year 13 students were quite eager,” she said.
Not much convincing was needed for the group to participate, as there were other little benefits. In Tomas Parco’s case this was an ideal opportunity to familiarise himself with our campus, as this is just his second week. “I guess it was an opportunity to look around, especially as I wouldn't have had the chance to go to the Year 1 Learning Community,” said Tomas, a Year 12 student from Manila, Philippines.
Once the ball was rolling, students were fully committed to making this experience memorable for their little friends as well as themselves, even if it meant breaking away from their usual morning routine. Vera Parco, also a new student opted to use other means of transport rather than the school bus to report in on time. “For three days I took the subway and then rode a bike to campus,” she explained.
What Guy Christensen enjoyed the most was the anticipation of seeing which new student he would meet each day. Said Guy, “Once you pair up with a kid you get a conversation going and show that you are there to help.”
Emmie Sandifer-Stech found this a great way to give back to her school community. There were many heart-warming moments like the time when a Year 1 student proudly showed her backpack to Emmie. “The kids were so nice,” she recalls.
Dr Wang hopes such initiatives will continue throughout the school year in various ways to help bridge the gap between the different age groups.
All photos courtesy of the Secondary Photography Club