Community service is an integral part of a child's education: here's how international schools in Singapore are giving kids the chance to give back...
A good education is a vital stepping stone for success as an adult, but when it comes to a rounded education that goes beyond just the classroom, we’re all about producing offspring who do their best academically, but are also open-minded and empathetic too. Community service is an integral part of creating versatile kids who actively give back to the community. We’ve found loads of volunteering ideas for children to get them started, but opportunities at school to join in community service projects is a big win in our eyes. Not only do students have the chance to help make the school community a sharing, caring one, but getting involved in local and global projects can really make a difference on a larger scale. We’ve been getting the lowdown on some of the cool community services for kids at international schools in Singapore…
Hillside World Academy (HWA)
Mr Max Lew Cheng Wee, Creative Activity & Service Manager, and Senior School Teacher in Science
HWA (pictured top) aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world actively and compassionately.
We strongly encourage students to take part in local and international in-service actions to address the needs in a community. Students work with various social service organisations (Bright Hill Evergreen Home, Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped, SPCA, etc), government agencies (NEA, NHCS, Youth Corps, etc) and hospitals (St Lukes, Bright Vision, etc) to deal with social and environment issues such as sustainable development, poverty, elderly care, orphaned children, education, environmental issues and animal conservation, to name a few. HWA students have also organised service learning trips to Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos to help local communities bathroom facilities, wells and fencing and also joined repairing projects for local schools.
This summer HWA students are participating in two major island-wide events: Citi-YMCA Youth For Causes and School Green Award 2018. There are two teams of students helping ACRES (Animal Concerns Research & Education Society) and Beyond Social Services to raise funds and promote awareness in communities through events such as designing and selling merchandise and organising an exhibition. Recently, the students championing ACRES organised a movie screening session and invited the school community to participate in fundraising by buying tickets and popcorn.
Our middle school students have launched a series of events in support of the School Green Award. In order to fulfil the requirement and meet the criteria, students have started an environmental conservation campaign with a coastal clean-up as the first effort. They plan to help out in various locations around Singapore as well as focusing on gardening and e-waste recycling projects in school.
Mrs Ng Gim Choo, Founder and MD of EtonHouse
EtonHouse believes in shaping the future through education
In the spirit of giving back to society, EtonHouse started the EtonHouse Community Fund (ECF), an independent and Registered Charity committed to help children from underprivileged backgrounds change their lives through education. The EtonHouse Community Fund is founded on the Group’s strong belief in the importance of early childhood education and that every child regardless of his or her background should have access to good quality preschool education. This is in line with the Group’s vision of shaping the future through education.
Throughout the year, the entire community comprising of children, parents, teachers, staff members come together with a range of community events to raise money for charity. Examples of fundraising activities include school carnivals and art auctions which the students put up to auction their own art pieces for charity. During the Christmas season, the entire school community of children, parents and staff come together for the annual box of joy to put together presents for underprivileged children. Other ongoing community projects include providing subsidies for educational resources. This year, EtonHouse Community Fund will launch a play library to share play-based learning experiences with children from low-income families.
At Tanglin Trust School, we are fully committed to our core values of Respect, Responsibility and Purpose and we aim to nurture a sense of service in our children. Every student has the opportunity to meaningfully engage with the local community and the world beyond.
The Infant School regularly organises fundraising activities and hosts fun play dates with children from a local children’s home and have a say in which charities to support. In the Junior School one international charity is supported by all year groups while each year group gets to pick a local charity to support. For the second year running, children held a ‘Lend with Care’ philanthropy week to raise money to help some of the world’s poorest people tackle poverty. Children enjoyed nail painting, origami, Lego building and ‘Beat the Teacher’ challenges and the money raised was used to support an entrepreneur of each class’ choice. In addition, Year 3 donated to Conservation International to name and tag a whale shark ‘Junior’ and will be tracking his journey in the ocean. Senior School also supports a number of charities through year group charity weeks, the National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) and Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS). One of the more unusual activities is the SPCA’s Reading to Dogs Programme, designed to help shelter dogs get settled for when they are adopted.
We hope that by the time our students leave us they have an informed conscience and the will to act upon it. As Arunima Mukherjee, Head Girl (Y13), says, “Tanglin helps you to achieve lasting values beyond strong academic achievement. Volunteering has helped me to be more open-minded, resilient and balanced.”
Singapore American School (SAS)
The best service comes out of extraordinary care
We believe that the best service comes out of extraordinary care, and our students exhibit just that every day. Opportunities for service abound for SAS students from kindergarten through twelfth grade, at school, in the community, and globally. Students are empowered to make a difference in their communities and develop an early commitment to active citizenship as part of being a responsible global citizen. Elementary students befriend stroke sufferers at the Adventist Rehab Center, mentor primary students at the Seng Kang Primary School, raise money for Food from the Heart to feed over 300 Singaporean families, teach art to the elderly at the Christalite Methodist home, along with other community projects. Middle school and High school students have over 50 service clubs to choose from and participate in water conservation, Wish For Kids’, Kiva, International Coastal Cleanup, and many more activities every year.
One cause we’re passionate about is environmental conservation. Our students dedicate countless hours to environmental conservation including our youngest learners in the preschool who create recycling plans for their classrooms and peers each year. For over 20 years our students and their families have teamed up with local schools and community members to participate in the International Coastal Cleanup removing thousands of kilos of garbage from Singapore coastlines.
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