Monday, June 14, 2010

National Education Learning Journey - 25 May 2010

Everyone was a little anxious in the early morning on the 25th May. It was the first time. All the students from Sec1 to 3 were to go on the National Education Learning Journey on that day. Each of them had been given a choice of venues. Each group consisted of the students from different classes and levels. 25 buses would come and go at the staggared timing. 50 adults - 25 teachers/staff and 25 parent volunteers - were required to accompany them.

But there were many happy faces at the end of the programme. The students seemed to be more attentive this year than the previous year when they went to the preselected venues. Many thanks to everyone involved, the parent volunteers in particular. School wouldn't have been able to proceed with many other matters of the day if 50 teachers and staff had had to go with the students.

Ms. Loretta Lee and Mrs. Kelly Tay were among them. They accompanied 80 students to Farmart Centre. Here's the report by Loretta with the photos by Kelly.

Visiting the Farmart Centre on 25 May

The Farmart Centre actually has a total of forty-three shops selling goods or products related with farm or nature, like fishes and pets etc. During the TK Learning Journey, we only visited one shop: Uncle William’s shop located at #39-40.

The tour was organised by William, the owner of the Quail Farm. William brought the whole group (group three, thirty-five students & group four, twenty-eight students) to a big classroom and gave us a “bird lesson”. Uncle William gave us a very informative and humorous talk about the quail.

If you are given one quail, do you know how to tell whether is female of male? Looking at their butt? Actually, there is another other way to tell: if the chest feather is brown, it is a male; if there are black polka dots, then it is a female. Simple and easy, right? However, if the quail is all white in colour, what should we do? Left with no choice, we would then have to see their derrière : if the anus is an “o” shape, then it is a male; if it is like a horizontal line, then it is a female.

We also learnt that the life cycle of a quail from egg to adult quail is only forty-five days . The baby quail can start to walk, and even look for food two hours later. The adult quail can lay one egg every day after it turns forty-five days old. Thus this makes it a highly-productive farm business.
Uncle William also taught us how to say ‘quail’ and ‘quail egg’ in five different languages : English, Mandarin , Malay, Tamil & Japanese, and then I taught him in Cantonese!! Also, the quail belongs to the poultry family.

He used a “Phua Chu Kang” way of speaking to talk to the students, so it was humorous and at the same time easy to remember the information.

He also gave out prizes to students , teachers & parents who could answer his questions after the talk. Both Kelly & myself won 4 Guinea Fowl eggs. I shared 2 with Mdm Saedah, TK staff in charge of group three.
Uncle William had also asked the students to go for the questions hunt. They had tried their best to answer and about twelve students won the prize. Other than that, each student got four eggs as souvenir.
Overall, the trip was a fun & enjoyable .

Written by Loretta
Photos by Kelly


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Coffee Talk & Sharing - 24 May 2010

One parent lamented on the Sunday Times Lifestyle page recently, "My teenage daughter is very materialistic, forgetful, rude, leaves her things on the floor when she comes back from school, procrastinates on homework ..."
I smiled, "I'm not alone."
If he/she was a TK parent, I would have invited him/her to our "Coffee Talk & Sharing" session.

In TK, "Coffee Talk & Sharing" started 3 years ago as one of the School Family Education programmes under Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports.
It's an informal sharing session on a topic related to parenting or marriage in a small group of about 10.

The topic of the day was, "Accepting your teens for who they are". Sounds familiar, but it's not easy. Honestly, there are times I wish my kids to be a little more A- attentive, B- brave, C- compassionate, D- diligent ... But must I lower my expectations? Are they living up to their potential? How can I accept them and still instill in them morals, values, ambition and drive?

A TK parent, Ms. Loretta Lee volunteered to facilitate the session. Loretta is a working mother of two girls in Sec2 and 4. She's been a Class Rep and an active volunteer in various programmes such as the Learning Journey.

She began to talk about her experience in keeping a good relationship and open communication with her daughters. Everyone agreed on the importance of good communication in parenting. That's the first step to understand and accept a child for who he/she is.

But discipline is important too. The traditional authoritarian approach seems to backfire with today's teenagers. "Taking a privilege away seems to work," a parent suggested. Another parent shared a mistake she made, "Yes, it works, but be careful. Once I took away my son's handphone to discipline him, then realised I needed to call him on the next day!"

The SFE Coordinator, Mega introduced two articles on the same topic, and a few related books.
Loretta followed up, "I give my girls space to be themselves. But at the same time, I ask them to put themselves in my shoes sometimes. A mutual understanding builds a relationship."

The one-and-a-half-hour session was a meaningful break from a daily routine, like an oasis for a parenting journey. It certainly empowered the participants. Thank you, Loretta!

Come join in the next "Coffee Talk & Sharing" which is on the way! Contact us at

Monday, June 7, 2010

Preparing for Racial Harmony Day

It started like the season's greetings to old friends. "It's been a long time. How are you?" The e-mail was sent on the first day of April. "Let's have a meeting for Racial Harmony Day!" Of course, no one took it as a joke. In fact, it was the time for serious business.

Racial Harmony Day falls on Wednesday the 21st July this year. TK parents have been involved in the various activities of it.
One of them is called KDB, or Know-Do-Be sessions. These are the workshops conducted by every department of TK and PSG. There are more than 15 different workshops for the students to choose from.

The PSG team consists of the parent volunteers and some of the committee members of the various races. Many of the participants have been doing this for a few years, and naturally friendship grows in true racial harmony.

This year, the team will conduct two sessions, "Souplicious Harmony" and "Kampong Games - Those were the Days". The "Soup" group had the second meeting on the 24th May. The members cooked the chicken soups of various Asian origins, such as of India, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand. We tasted each and every
soup, which had distinctive flavour and ingredients.

At the actual KDB session of "Souplicious Harmony", there will be even more varieties! The students will not just taste the soups, but learn the facts about these ingredients, such as some of their medicinal properties, anecdotes or cultural significance, as well as the recipes.

The teacher in charge, Mrs. Chen droped by to give us useful information and support.
With such warm collaboration, we strive to work even harder to nourish TK's soul.

Come join us to promote racial harmony!
We have a few vacancies in another activity, "TK Amazing Race". The duty is to supervise the participating students who go through a trail in the Katong neighbourhood to experience the heritage and culture of different races. Contact us at