Monday, Aug 20th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:00

Teaching Children to Manage Their Lives

Written by  Nam Geok Ting, Hoh Sew Lee & Lee Heng Lun, Seremban / Translated by Woon Xiao Rui

Some children are seen here experiencing work at the food preparation group under their parents’ care. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]

This year, the Parent-child Bonding Class (PCBC) began implementing life education in its curriculum. With this, the children, aged between 7 and 12, get to experience contributing from behind-the-scenes and learn some living skills under their parents’ and volunteers’ guidance. As Master Cheng Yen hopes, this will be an education that forms the foundation for the younger generations, to grow up as pillars of society equipped with knowledge and virtue.


On March 11, 2018, the Tzu Chi Seremban Liaison Office welcomed 24 pairs of parent and child to the Parent-child Bonding Class (PCBC). Some were first time participants while some have participated for a few years. The participants were spilt into groups according to their areas of residence, hoping to give them the opportunity to get to know one another and build closely-knitted neighbourhoods.

Wong Sook King, team leader of the PCBC, revealed that, since December 2017, eight meetings were held among the Programme Team members to discuss and design the 2018 curriculum. They came up with different ideas, including a point-collection system that aims to instil in the participants the teachings of the Jing Si Aphorisms.

Experiencing the joy of giving

The first class included a station-game activity designed for the participants to experience the duties of different functional groups supporting the PCBC. There were four stations, each for a functional group – the Living group in charged of beverage preparation; the Food Preparation group; the Logistic group in charged of arranging tables and chairs; and the Beautifying group in charged of cleaning the washrooms and other areas in the centre. The participants took turns working at each station before deciding on a functional group they would like to join for the rest of the year.

At each station, the participants commenced carrying out their duties after explanations and demos by the station master. For example, at the logistic station, the participants arranged the tables and chairs according to the floor markings, while the station master shared some tips on how to arrange them neatly. At the food preparation station, the children tried cutting the vegetables with real knives, while their parents helped and took care of their safety. It came as no surprise that the food preparation group was one of the most popular choices.

One of the participants, 11-year-old Ng Qi Heng, is an active boy. His mother, Teo Yun Sen, enrolled him in the PCBC three years ago, hoping that the good learning environment will help to improve his character. But she was constantly worried that her boy would cause trouble to other children in his class, for instance, once her son even dug up pieces of loose parquet flooring. Now, three years later, Yun Sen is pleased with the results, as Qi Heng’s patience and concentration power have improved significantly. This time, she decided to select the beautifying group for her boy to learn cleaning and to help with household chores.

Always be alert

After the activities, the children watched a drama called “The Race to the Devil’s Lair”. In the show, the leading actor, Wu Yi Feng, attempted to escape reality by immersing himself in the virtual world of gaming. His wish was granted when he finally found himself fallen into the virtual world. Yet, things were not as he had expected. He had to face pressure and expectations from his parents and teachers respectively in order to clear the first barrier.

First-time participant, Lim Set Ping, found the story echoed her worry, of her child becoming too absorbed in the virtual world. Her 10-year-old daughter, Gwendolyn Ong, who enjoys watching videos online, expressed that the moral of the story reminded her of the pitfalls of the virtual world. She added that she regularly finds time to study during the weekends and promised to keep up with her studies.

Through the skit, Gwendolyn also learnt the importance of facing one’s fear. She revealed that her worst fear was watching her parents fight, and she hopes they will stop arguing.

Practising gratitude and mutual love

The Programme Team institutes “gratitude, respect and love”, which Tzu Chi accentuates, as the class rules. They used both words and pictures to illustrate each quality, so that the children could better understand and apply them. With “gratitude”, the children will learn to appreciate resources, and save water and electricity; with “respect”, they will treat each other with courtesy, hence would not have conflicts and fights with each other; and with “love”, they will create a joyful environment.

Furthermore, the PCBC adopts a point-collection system to encourage the children to be more proactive in learning. “There are ten boxes for each month. You will receive a stamp each time you attend the class. You will receive another stamp if you pay attention in class,” explained the facilitator with a score card in hand. Besides giving the children encouragement for their good behaviour and active participation in class, the facilitators will also talk to the parents and reward the children who behave well outside of class with extra stamps. This is in order to motivate the children to apply what they have learnt in class in their everyday lives. It also makes learning fun for the children, as some would exclaim, “I received two stamps for attending class and answering questions!”

The impartment of knowledge and life education should go together. This way, we will be able to nurture the children into individuals who, not only excel academically, but morally and life in general.

 

Some children are seen here learning to wash the cups. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]   Through three years of participation in the PCBC, Teo Yun Sen saw significant progress in her child’s growth. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]

Some children are seen here learning to wash the cups. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]
 
Through three years of participation in the PCBC, Teo Yun Sen saw significant progress in her child’s growth. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]
 
Gwendolyn Ong and her mother, Lim Set Ping, are seen here watching the short film attentively. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]   A facilitator is seen here stamping on the children’s score cards as rewards for their good behaviour. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]

Gwendolyn Ong and her mother, Lim Set Ping, are seen here watching the short film attentively. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]
 
The parents too participated in the class activities. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]
 
The parents too participated in the class activities. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]

The parents too participated in the class activities. [Photograph by Wong Siew Chin]