“I would like to thank Miss Rosieta, Teacher Voon Hwee, and Miss Audrey for taking good care of me. Thank you.”
A graduate of Tzu Chi Great Love PreSchool, 6-year-old Angus Chan openly expressed his heartfelt gratitude to his teachers for their care and guidance, at the Tzu Chi Year-End Appreciation event organized by Tzu Chi Merit Society (Singapore) on the 15th January 2017.
In February 2016, Angus was transferred to the Tzu Chi Great Love PreSchool, a childcare centre established by the Tzu Chi Foundation (Singapore). Being an active and rambunctious boy, he had difficulty adapting to the new school environment, which places a strong emphasis on etiquette and values. Moreover, as he had the habit of speaking in a direct manner, he often sounded offensive to others. As a result, many of his classmates did not like to play with him.
One day, Principal of the PreSchool Audrey Koh told Angus: “The teachers here don’t scold children. You are not a bad child; you are still learning, and you must start working hard from now on.”
Under the patient guidance of the form-teacher of the K2 class, Chong Voon Hwee, and other teachers at the PreSchool, Angus began learning and practising Tzu Chi’s humanistic values and etiquette. Gradually, his character softened and more and more children started interacting with him. Soon, they could be seen playing and studying together.
Angus also became a very helpful boy who often took the initiative to help his teachers and friends. “Sometimes, I’d tell the kids that the floor was dirty and ask if anyone could help clean it. Hearing that, Angus would start cleaning the floor immediately, without any hesitation,” shared Principal Audrey Koh.
Standing close by her young son on stage at the Year-End Appreciation event, Angus’s mother Tay Lay Cheng described him as an impatient and very active boy. But in less than a year’s time, she was happy to notice that her son has become more patient and considerate towards others, thanks to the caring teachers at the Great Love PreSchool.
“He would take the initiative to help with the household chores. And knowing that I couldn’t carry heavy stuff after my leg operation, he would help me carry things during our shopping trips. When I saw how he was straining to carry the things, I wanted to help him. But he’d say he could manage by himself. He has really grown up now,” said the happy and proud mother.
Although Angus is not a full-fledged vegetarian, the lessons on eco-vegetarianism which he learned at the PreSchool have been deeply ingrained in his mind. So he would tell his mother that they should eat more vegetables instead of meat. He’d say, “If we eat a lot of meat, it’ll be harmful to the environment. And, don’t we love animals? Why should we eat them?”
When Angus spotted trash that can be recycled, he would tell his mother that they should not discard the recyclables as rubbish. Tay smilingly shared that it was her mother that influenced her to participate in Tzu Chi’s recycling activities in the past, and now, it was her son that taught her how to sort recyclables.
The young mother added that Angus was quite sloppy in his work in the past, but now, he is more disciplined and has better concentration. One day, she half-jokingly told him that he needed to finish 100 pages of homework before he was allowed to play. To her surprise, her young son took it seriously and insisted that she kept him company as he finished the 100- page assignment that day. “After that incident, I never dare to set such a rule again,” said Tay.
Once, Angus was tripped by his classmate in the PreSchool. He had a fall and hurt his chin so badly that it bled. Tay thought that her son would be full of resentment for that child who tripped him, but when he returned home, he told her: “I believe if that classmate knew that I would fall down and hurt myself, he wouldn’t have done it. So he didn’t trip me on purpose, I have forgiven him.”
Angus’s wise words deeply touched and impressed his mother. He would certainly carry the seeds of love that have been sown in his heart with him as he embarked on a new learning journey in his primary school.