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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Wednesday, 28 November 2012 00:00

Kluang Education Department Studies Tzu Chi's Unique Approach in Education

Written by  By Tay Sok Ten, Melaka/ Translated by Wong Mun Heng

After the visit, Kindergarten teachers from Kluang shared their views.【Photograph by Tay Sok Ten】

On their recent visit to Melaka Da Ai Educare Centre, Kluang's Education Officer and kindergarten teachers, were very impressed with Tzu Chi's approach in inculcating living skills. They hope to introduce the same in their schools with the hope of teaching their kids to be independent and to be team workers.


On the morning of November 28, 2012, Mr. Bahari Bin Abu Mansor from Melaka Education Department brought his counterpart from Kluang, Mr. Wan Md Zaini, and 40 Kindergarten teachers (3 Chinese, 1 Indian and the rest Malays) to Tzu Chi Melaka's Da Ai Educare Centre. Having been impressed with his first visit to the Centre, he decided to recommend other teachers to learn Tzu Chi's approach in imparting living skills.

The visitors from Kluang were briefed on the Centre's classes and Tzu Chi's Missions by three volunteers, namely, Da Ai Educare's Principal, Tay Sok Ten, Teacher Yee Swee Fong, who is a member of the Teachers' Association and Administrative staff and volunteer, Tan Choy Choo.

Spirit of mutual assistance

The visitors were first greeted by the 5-year olds singing Tzu Chi's "Welcoming Song". Delighted with the rousing welcome, the government officers and teachers then shook hands with the kids.

When the group entered two classes for 6-year olds, they found the children busily making "Dim Sum with bread". The teachers from Kluang used simple Malay and English to communicate with the kids, who were very responsive to their questions.

When asked by a male kindergarten teacher, "Why are the kids wearing face masks and aprons when making dim sum?" the Centre's Principal explained that they were part of Tzu Chi's culture and also living skills. The objective is to inculcate good habits in the children's daily life; and teach them to take care of themselves and others. The face masks and aprons help to keep the individuals clean and also ensure that the food is prepared in a hygienic environment.

Charitable spirit

The visitors were curious about the presence of some plastic basins filled with water in the classroom. They were told by the Principal that after the children have finished preparing the dim sum, they are required to clean up all the apparatus on their own. This is again part and parcel of the Centre's living skills education.

When the visitors moved into the three classes for 4-year olds, they were seen busily snapping away at the colourful exhibits on the soft board. They were very impressed with the creative designs and gave compliments to the teachers. Teacher Yee Swee Fong explained that the kids start to learn living skills when they are 4 years old. They learn to eat and wash their own plates, wash the toilet, place the floor mats and make their own beds.

Teacher Yee took the opportunity to explain about "Tzu Chi's Bamboo Bank Story" when a Malay female teacher pointed out the many similar looking piggy banks in the classroom. Teacher Yee also told the visitors that the school is encouraging the kids to start saving from young and that even a small amount can do good deeds. More importantly, it is for them to have good thoughts every day.

Independent spirit

At the class of 5-year olds, the Kluang teachers saw a few kids bringing a large pail of water into the classroom. This was followed by other kids taking out their handkerchiefs and clothing from the cupboard, and placing them neatly on the table. They then orderly filled their small wash basins with water before returning to their respective seats to wipe themselves. While doing so, they sang in unison: "Wipe right hand, wipe left hand, do good deeds with both hands… Wipe stomach, big stomach, greet everyone and have good manners…"

The Malay teachers were quite curious about what the kids were singing. Teacher Yee then translated the song, which is meant to instill upon the children and remind them to "Have good thoughts, say good words and do good deeds". The visiting teachers liked this approach and could see the potential in the kids. They hope to introduce the same teaching methods in their schools to enable their kids to be independent and to be team workers.

On this tour, the visitors were also introduced to Tzu Chi's four missions and eight footprints, with Tzu Chi's Charity Mission reaching out to anyone regardless of race and religion. At the free clinics, they also witnessed how Tzu Chi's medical volunteers and doctors have contributed without expecting anything in return. Everyone felt that this is very noble and meaningful.



Lastly, Kluang's Education Department Officer, Encik Wan Md Zaini expressed thanks and appreciation to Melaka Education Department for facilitating this visit. This visit had enabled them to see the uniqueness of Tzu Chi's education and they have also learnt a lot from Da Ai Educare Centre. He encouraged the teachers to follow Tzu Chi volunteers' spirit in taking care of other people's children besides their own; and to spread loving-kindness to every child without expecting anything in return.

Before their departure, Kluang's Education Department Officer presented a token of appreciation to Da Ai Educare Centre. Principal Tay Sok Ten then reciprocated by giving every visiting teacher a Jing-Si Aphorism poster. She briefly explained the meaning and encouraged all the teachers to share it with their students, with the hope that they will pick up all these positive values in life.

 

Mr. Wan Md Zaini, Education Department Officer from Kluang, expressed thanks to Melaka Education Department for facilitating this visit. This has enabled them to learn about the uniqueness of Tzu Chi's education.【Photograph by Tay Sok Ten】   Kluang Education Department Officer presented a token of appreciation to Da Ai Educare's Principal, Tay Sok Ten.【Photograph by Yeow Hock Chai】

Mr. Wan Md Zaini, Education Department Officer from Kluang, expressed thanks to Melaka Education Department for facilitating this visit. This has enabled them to learn about the uniqueness of Tzu Chi's education.【Photograph by Tay Sok Ten】
 
Kluang Education Department Officer presented a token of appreciation to Da Ai Educare's Principal, Tay Sok Ten.【Photograph by Yeow Hock Chai】

 

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