NTUC’s My First Skool extends children’s learning through intergenerational bonding initiatives

October 24, 2015

Graduation concert showcases pioneers’ contributions to audience spanning three generations; official launch of MFS iTunes U website along with SG50 Commemorative Book

Kindergarten 2 (K2) graduands from NTUC’s My First Skool (MFS) at Blk 18A Holland Drive showcased year-long learnings to their families through a concert at Buona Vista Community Club this morning. The concert theme centred on appreciating the contributions of Singapore’s Pioneers, is titled “You Shine in Our Lives”. The concert and learning activities are part of NTUC Social Enterprises’ Pioneers OK! initiative.

Throughout this year, MFS has been extending children’s learning beyond their classrooms through a series of intergenerational bonding activities by tapping on the knowledge and experiences of seniors and creating opportunities for them to share with their little juniors. The graduation concert for all K2 children, totalling 2,502 graduands from 115 MFS pre-schools this year, is a culmination of the year’s efforts in bridging generational divide, while inculcating the importance of intergenerational connection and family togetherness.

Prior to the graduation concert this morning, an SG50 commemorative book, titled “Tapestry of Life – Our Love for Singapore through 3 Generations”, along with a corresponding e-book resource MFS iTunes U site, were launched by the Guest of Honour, Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). These are part of an intergenerational project by MFS, where children, together with their families, documented their love for Singapore through inspiring life stories.

SG50 Intergenerational Project – Utilising technology to promote family bonding and learning

To promote intergenerational bonding and to deepen children’s knowledge about Singapore, MFS utilised technologies and innovations with Apple to bring together families across three generations. MFS adopted the Book Creator app available on iOS, and with the magic of iPad – the platform to provide children with simple, intuitive building blocks to create games, animations and apps in a colourful, interactive environment – created digital e-books to share their families’ stories in the form of written and photographic works or video content.

By equipping Principals and teachers with the necessary training, each child was guided on the know-how to complete the e-books with their parents and grandparents. The initiative was carried out between February and September this year with over 500 families submitting their projects. Many families also shared their memories of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, as a tribute to Singapore’s founding father, be it in the form of a photograph, a quote or an appreciation note.

To celebrate SG50 as a community, the e-books inspired the publication of an SG50 commemorative book. Titled “Tapestry of Life – Our Love for Singapore through 3 Generations”, the book features 50 inspiring stories from the collection.

Said MFS Deputy General Manager, Ms Thian Ai Ling, “Through this project, we aspire to connect generations, build togetherness and at the same time value-add to children’s learning. SG50 is an ideal platform where we can encourage children to learn about Singapore outside of classrooms, through the experiences and stories of their parents or grandparents.” She added, “Through Apple’s products and innovative platforms such as the Book Creator app, our children are now able to document life stories across generations. This is a first of its kind and an eye-opener to possibilities of how children can learn and create resources that can be shared with the community.”

Pioneers OK! Initiative – Engaging children and seniors through learning activities

As part of the Pioneers OK! initiative, MFS engaged children throughout the year in activities to celebrate the contributions of Singapore’s pioneers to nation-building. In MFS at Blk 18A Holland Drive, children actively participated in events that involved the older generation. For instance, the children celebrated Kindness Week in a project with St Luke’s ElderCare where they made personalised crafts as well as helped out in a charity drive with families to collect essential items for the home. The children’s grandparents were also invited to their pre-school for tea on National Day, where the children engaged them in conversations about life during Singapore’s early days of nation building. On Racial Harmony day, the children celebrated with the theme “Back to Kampong Days” where they and their families interacted with others in their community and learnt about different ethnic games, crafts and old school delights.

The learning activities culminated in the graduation concert today, with the graduands putting up a performance to show their appreciation for the Pioneer Generation. Along with the concert, there is also an exhibition to showcase pictures of their learning journey.

While the type of activities differ across MFS pre-schools, the learnings are guided by a common “Honouring our Pioneers” theme, which will culminate with a total of 69 concerts taking place island-wide in the months of October and November. MFS made a special effort to host the concerts in large venues so that grandparents and extended family can celebrate a major milestone in their children’s lives together.