24 September 2022

My First Skool children learn more about caring for others and giving back to the community through making craft for fundraising

A turtle made of a plastic bottle, Minion drawstring bags, Minnie Mouse pouches – what do these items have to do with empathy and compassion?

These are crafts made by the children at NTUC First Campus’ (NFC) My First Skool (MFS) at Braddell Heights and My First Skool at Blk 667 Hougang Avenue 4 as part of the two centres’ efforts to raise funds for NFC’s Bright Horizons Fund (BHF). Held in the months of September and October 2020 in conjunction with Children’s Day, the centres managed to raise a total of nearly $4,000 through their own efforts.

At MFS at Braddell Heights, the centre’s teachers took this craft-making opportunity to share with the children about how there are families around them that are in need, and the motivations behind the making of these crafts. They did this through storytelling, teaching the children about caring for others and doing their part for the community as they grow up. The staff also shared the background of this fundraiser with the centre’s parents, raising awareness of NFC’s BHF.

The centre staff’s fundraising efforts have seen strong support from the centre’s Parents’ Support Group (PSG), who have constantly been playing an active role in looking out for families in need. Towards the end of the fundraising campaign, the PSG also set up a booth outside the centre to share their fundraising efforts and the BHF with other parents of the centre. In 2019, the PSG conducted a food donation drive, where they collected food donations for the families from the centre that were in need. In addition, they had also collected and distributed pre-school uniforms to the families from the centre in need of them.

The centre’s Parents’ Support Group set up a booth outside the centre to share the fundraising efforts

A turtle with a “recycled plastic bottle” shell

To make the artwork craft for the fundraiser, the staff and children at the centre drew from their ongoing recycling programme. Inspired by efforts to recycle materials to protect the environment, the children used items like plastic bottles, cloths and cardboard to create their artwork. The centre’s recycling initiative has been ongoing since 2019, where parents, teachers and the community contribute recycled raw materials for children to explore in the centre’s learning corners. The children also use these materials for their lessons and festive celebrations.

Ms Crissen Lee, Principal of MFS at Braddell Heights, shared that, “Giving is not just about making a donation, it is about making a difference with our lives.”

“Through this initiative, our children, parents and teachers had a shared goal. It gave our teachers the opportunity to strengthen their engagement with our parents and empower our children with the ability to care and give. It was a fruitful fundraising campaign for all of us, together we share the sense of pride of helping those around us!”

Over at MFS at Blk 667 Hougang Avenue 4, the centre’s event committee was moved by the COVID-19 pandemic’s adverse effects on the economy, businesses, and even the young children in pre-schools. From the additional safety measures to the recent home-based learning during the Circuit Breaker, children’s daily lives have also changed due to the pandemic. The centre staff wanted to cultivate in their children awareness of a range of issues and develop empathy towards people facing challenges in the COVID-19 current situation, as well as families around them in need. The centre made the most of the Children’s Day fundraising opportunity, conducting the fundraiser to give back to those in need.

At the same time, as the fundraising was held in conjunction with Children’s Day, the centre’s teachers also shared with the children the motivations behind making the crafts and raising funds – building empathy towards children who are less fortunate and being thankful for what they have.

On making the decisions on what items to craft and the materials to be used, the children played a significant role. The teachers and children came up with ideas on what to craft and what to use based on what the children enjoy playing or experimenting with.

Ms Kailing Lai, Principal of MFS at Blk 667 Hougang Avenue 4, shared: “With our ever-growing society, people tend to forget to stop and take a minute to look at how much the world has changed. When the pandemic hit, it reset the whole world in terms of how we think and live. Our centre’s aim is to simply bring happiness not only to families affected by the pandemic but also to those that require our aid.”

“We educate our children that by them helping others, they’ll be appreciative of what they have now and see the positives in life. This has helped them to feel better about themselves and those around them. Even if they don’t get to visually see the happiness of those that receive their support, they will be able to feel it.”

A Minion drawstring bag

A Minnie Mouse pouch

These two centres’ fundraising efforts are part of NFC’s Fundraising and Awareness campaign that ran from 21 September to 31 October, 2020. The campaign served to create awareness of the BHF and NFC’s efforts in doing good for those in need; raise funds for the BHF; and continue engagement with key donors.

This year, the NFC BHF has provided support for low-income families in MFS, addressing the challenges that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these practical initiatives include offsetting pre-school fees for eligible families, providing care packs containing useful essential items such as sanitisers and face masks, supplying food rations for vulnerable families and birthday cakes for low-income children, amongst many more.

The BHF, providing Financial support, is one of the three pillars of NFC’s Child Support Model (CSM). The other two are Social support, and Learning and Developmental support. Developed in 2016, the CSM provides a holistic approach to supporting children from low income families and children with learning needs. It gives opportunity for every child to discover and develop their potential to the fullest without letting their circumstances define or hinder their learning.

Through this integrated and collaborative in-house support model, NFC helps children achieve sustainable learning outcomes during their early learning years, and promotes social mobility for the less privileged groups.

To find out more about the CSM, check out: https://www.ntucfirstcampus.com/do-good/child-support-model.

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