It was an ordinary day, but the precinct of Tampines block 432 was particularly noisy. If one didn’t pay close attention, one would think the children have all run amok and the teachers have lost control. The source of the din, though, was a series of activities that’s being carried out all at the same time!
Another clue as to what the children might be doing was also a stunning display of paper mache world globes and eggshell planter pots. It doesn’t take long for one to realise these children have been celebrating Earth Day!
It’s a Combined Effort!
PCS Tampines chose to do Earth Day slightly differently. There was a focus on teaching the children how to look after the Earth but Ms Jenny Lim, Principal of PCS Tampines, also wanted to make sure the children’s families were very involved throughout the process. Many of the children’s final products that they showcased in school were not made in school but at home, hand-in-hand with their family members. After all, the school can try to instil habits and values in children, but it is what they take home with them that will make a lasting difference.
Throughout the week, there were multiple activities for the children to do with their families. Ms Lim emphasises that parent involvement is crucial in children’s holistic development. When families take the initiative to support their child’s learning, a continual learning experience will be fostered. Having the whole family on board the projects for Earth Day will encourage the children to start practising these habits at home.
A Myriad of Activities about one Earth
Most of the festivities took place after nap time! The children’s faces were still sleepy from the nap, but their excitement was perceptible. The K2s got the ball rolling with an outdoor fashion show. Their attire of the day was not their usual uniform, but upcycled clothing! They were made out of plastic bags, cardboard, and a mish mash of other everyday materials that was destined for the incinerator.
Under the gleaming sun, their clothes and personalities shone. The details that parents painstakingly glued on and embellished with their children sparkled. All the children proudly showed off their creative masterpieces - clothed in bags and paper, and even a backpack made out of cardboard!
Soon after the fashion show ended, it was time for the K1s to present their art pieces - paper mache globes! It was an amalgamation of various styles, mediums and materials. The individuality of each family’s project manifested through the choice of their materials - aluminium, foam paper and even glitter. As the children made the “earth”, they had a glimpse into the perspective God held as He created the world systematically, creatively and lovingly. As each child pointed out their globe to their friends, it is apparent they are proud of what they had managed to achieve.
Away from the hill and back at the entrance of the centre, the action continued.
The N2 children learnt the steps needed to plant mung beans and were guided to plant them in eggshells. Instead of using new plastic planter pots, eggshells that would otherwise be food waste performed the same function. In addition, as they disintegrate into the soil, it would provide some nutrients for the plants.
Their teacher also reminded them to pay attention to how their plants were doing! A good way to do it was to record how they were growing. All these hands-on learning culminated in the final step: watering it so that they can bring home to watch them thrive!
Isn’t creation amazing? The children couldn’t cause the mung beans to germinate and grow on their own, but they got to participate in the process. We are reminded of what a privilege and honour it is to participate in the caring of God’s creation though we do not possess the power to breathe life into inanimate objects.
What else can we do with materials that people discard? With thoughtful selection, the N1s created family portraits to represent their family members! This process allowed children to see many possibilities of the leaves that have fallen to the ground. Leaves can also be used to express themselves visually and creatively! Using the leaves to create a person’s body, the children gave each person arms, legs and faces. Children saw for themselves how they can create art from old objects. There is beauty all around us, and beauty that we can create if only we paid closer attention.
As the Chinese proverb goes, it takes ten years to plant a tree, but it takes a century to nurture a person. In commemoration of Earth Day 2021, PCS Tampines sought to teach children to care for nature around us. Yet, special attention was also paid to ensure our children are nurtured into individuals who see the role they play in caring for God’s creation. Therefore, let’s celebrate Earth Day, every day!