My First Skool @ Parkway Parade: Cultivating Untamed Empathy for the Wilderness
The face of My First Skool @ Parkway Parade’s Start Small Dream Big (SSDB) project, ‘Go Green, Make a Difference, Save the Earth’, are the Sumatran Orangutans. The preschool hopes to not only educate the students on this animal’s plight but the concept of endangered and extinct animals in itself.
Firstly, to kickoff, a brainstorming and sharing session was conducted. The students’ could freely share their own ideas about the animal’s characteristics and be fact-checked if their concepts were wrong. This made for efficient learning and further sparked their curiosity.
Activities are centered on their own twist on the 3 Rs – Reduce paper usage, Reduce plastic usage, and Respect the Orangutan’s Rights. The K1 children hope to call upon all Singaporeans to save the Orangutans by salvaging used packaging, plastic bottles, papers used at work or school as well as purchasing recycled products. Much discussion was also raised around the topics of deforestation, forest fires, and sustainable living practices.
The K1 Children explored the process of producing paper from scratch using unutilised papers found around their homes and in schools. For example, newspapers, magazines and pencil shavings. From that experience, they understood the fact that many trees have to be cut down just to make one ton of paper, and the more papers they use, the more trees have to be cut down.
Next, they flexed their creativity by designing their own personalised posters with a unique message on the topic they would like to share with the public.
To further elicit empathy from the children for animals, they were introduced to literature such as ‘Elmer’ by David Mckee and ‘The Elephant and the tree’ by Jin Pyn Lee. Both stories not only serve to impart good values on its young readers but feature an endearing elephant as its protagonist.
The educators of My First Skool Parkway Parade said, “We like to live by the SSDB motto, ‘No one can do everything, but everyone can do something’. I’d like everyone to remember that every little thing done actually goes a long way.”