Wednesday, Sep 03rd

2008 News Cultivating Seeds of Kindness in Maha Bodhi School

Cultivating Seeds of Kindness in Maha Bodhi School

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Maha Bodhi School is the second school being introduced to the concept of Tzu Chi’s Great Love Mothers and Jing Si Aphorism Teaching after Mee Toh School. Besides Tzu Chi songs, the motherly volunteers brought with them handmade puppets and props to perform animated skits integrated with Jing Si Aphorism’s moral values for the pupils. Though only four sessions conducted so far, the team is beginning to see some positive response from the 700 Primary 1 and 2 pupils.

The pupils are exposed to wholesome teachings of moral stories and Master Cheng Yen’s Jing Si Aphorism during each session, hoping that they can apply the useful lessons in their everyday lives. (Photo: Law Sook Fong)


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The pupils were quick to open up to learning in a fun and relaxing way. (Photo: Law Sook Fong)
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Kang Jing Yi from China likes the Great Love Mothers very much. She could even finish the whole song that’s played every time in the session. (Photo: Law Sook Fong)
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(From left to right)Huang Zi En, Ye Ming Cheng, and Lin Jun Xuan shared what they learn in the curriculum session. (Photo: Law Sook Fong)
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Madam Lin Lian Hua, though in her 60s, enjoys singing and dancing with the pupils during each session. (Photo: Law Sook Fong)
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Mrs. Lim Bee Lay, the school principal commended the Great Love Mothers for their creative teaching method that succeeded in fully engaging the children in their stories and plays. (Photo: Law Sook Fong)
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Popular among the pupils, animated skits are also a good medium to educate the children on the art of human dealings.

Kang Jing Yi is a student of Class 1D. Like every other children in class, the little girl from China likes the Great Love Mothers very much.

The team has been visiting Maha Bodhi School every Wednesday since 23 July 2008. They would play the song “Make Good Wish & Speak Good Words” during every visit that the pupils have got familiar with the lyrics after four weeks of learning. Little Jing Yi could even sang the whole song by heart.

Maha Bodhi School is the second school being introduced to the concept of Tzu Chi’s Great Love Mothers and Jing Si Aphorism Teaching after Mee Toh School. Besides Tzu Chi songs, the motherly volunteers brought with them handmade puppets and props to perform animated skits integrated with Jing Si Aphorism’s moral values for the pupils. Though only four sessions conducted so far, the team is beginning to see some positive response from the 700 Primary 1 and 2 pupils.

Lin Jun Xuan and Ye Ming Cheng from Primary two liked the “Make Good Wish & Speak Good Words” song too. Ming Cheng, who sees himself as quite talkative, thinks that the aphorism “It is better to speak less, and best to speak kindly” is good as it reminds him to always speak good words. The 8-year-old loves the story “Snake Head and Tail” too, because it taught him “not to do things which are beyond our ability, but to do it together with the people around”.

Another girl, Huang Zi En said, “I like the Apple Tree story the most. The tree never hesitates when it comes to helping others. I learnt that I should behave and be a good girl.” As to what makes a good girl, Zi En says she would help her mom out with house chores like sweeping the floor and wiping the tables, and also doing homework by her own.

On each session, we could see Madam Lin Lian Hua, who’s in her 60s, enjoys singing and dancing with her pupils. The Chinese teacher has been in the teaching profession for more than 40 years. Though she should be retiring at this age, the passion of teaching made her stay in school to continue teaching.

She commented that the presence of Great Love Mothers and the enriching programmes they presented has added a breath of fresh air to the school as it helps mould the pupils’ behaviour and mindset. Madam Lin cited, “The messages in the “Make Good Wish & Speak Good Words” song are making a difference in the children’s minds and behaviors. When they saw their classmates behaved badly, they knew they should be forgiving to them (instead of criticize them). The song lyrics somewhat changed their way of approaching things. They became more thoughtful.”

“The curriculums are vivid and lively. I saw the Apple Tree skit performance last week. The message that children can also acquire the ability to help others is simply wonderful.” said the school principal Mrs. Lim Bee Lay when interviewed.

Maha Bodhi School is a Buddhist school founded in 1948. The sponsorship of the school was placed under the Singapore Buddhist Federation in 1950 for further development. Over the years, the enrolment of pupils increased tremendously from a mere 40 to 1300 and the teaching staff from 4 to 40 by 1966. In 1990, it became a Special Assistance Plan (SAP) school which laid emphasis on the learning of English and Chinese and the inculcation of Asian moral values in the pupils.

Citing the Values Education concept, Mrs. Lim strongly believes in instilling good moral values in young children. “Our present education are more focused on the teachings of language, mathematics and science that we tend to overlook an important aspect: the cultivation of morals and ethics.”

Mrs. Lim was in full praise of the Great Love Mothers’ creativity in engaging the children through catchy storytelling and song-singing. She felt that the method is better than the parents and teachers’ usual way of telling their children what is right and wrong, adding that “The most important thing is to let them have self-respect; be responsible for themselves since young, and learn to do good for the society.”

Mrs. Lim first learnt about Tzu Chi in year 2006 through volunteer Wu Yu Chin, whose son is a pupil of the school. The principal gained knowledge about the organization through frequent visits to its Da Ai TV website and internet broadcast. When she learnt from Sister Wu of the Great Love Mothers programme and Jing Si Aphorism Teaching, she decided to invite Tzu Chi’s Great Love Mother to the school. Since 23 July, every Wednesday afternoon, the Primary one and two pupils get to spend half an hour with the Great Love Mothers and their wonderful programme.

Seeing the positive results, Mrs. Lim intends to invite principals and teachers of other schools over to their school to learn about the programme and also to extend the session to include higher grade pupils.

Furthermore, she also wished to introduce Tzu Chi’s humanistic values on life to the teachers and parents. Plans include having Mr. David Liu, CEO of Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore Branch), to give a talk in the school.

Incidentally, today is the last session of the term. When the Great Love Mothers were about to leave, two little ones ran towards them asking, “How come we didn’t see Great Love Father today?” The Great Love Father they were referring to is 60-year-old volunteer Huang Yi Sheng, who is the only male member in the team. It seems that the children are already looking forward to the Great Love Mothers (and Father) to return in the next term.



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