Every year on the second Sunday of May, people worldwide celebrate Mother's Day, and the third Sunday in June is Father's Day. At Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool, this is also the time of the year when students show their gratitude and filial piety to their parents.
Parents are invited to the preschool every May to receive their children's love expressed through a foot bathing session and a tea ceremony. Though parents had not been able to experience this in the preschool for the past three years due to the pandemic, they were encouraged to celebrate the occasion with their children at home.
After two weeks of intense preparation, Parents Appreciation Day finally arrived on 19 May 2023, the day Great Love preschools in Yishun and Toa Payoh ushered in a warm and fulfilling moment. Children from the two-year-old to six-year-old classes waited in full anticipation and excitement for their parents to participate in this special event.
Knowing that their parents would come, some children started to feel uneasy, and they only felt a sense of relief after seeing their parents entering the preschools. While some other children cried for their parents, as soon as they entered the classrooms, their tears turned into smiles immediately.
The tiny hands hold boundless love and filial piety
On this day, children of various ages showed their best in expressing filial piety to their parents. In the foot-bathing session, the five and six-year-old children demonstrated their resilience. Though the foot-bathing tubs were heavy and oversized, they adjusted their posture to ensure the water would not spill as they waited steadfastly for their turn.
During the foot-bathing session, the children's undivided attention and devotion moved the parents dearly. Teacher Zhang Hui Juan praised: "The children have grown up, the whole process is orderly, the parents are very engaged, the atmosphere is warm and touching, and almost all parents are moved to tears."
The four-year-old children had prepared gifts for their parents in advance. They baked cookies the day before and offered them to their parents during the food-offering session.
Children aged two and three served tea and food to their parents by following their teachers' instructions. Holding the fruits in their tiny hands, their nervous yet delighted expressions brought joy and satisfaction to their parents.
When a throwback video was played, the children pointed excitedly to the TV screen and turned to their classmates, and said: "Look, it's you!"
Ms Gan Wen Shan, who was assigned to look after the three-year-old class on that day, said: "It was great to be able to hold the Parents Appreciation Day in the centre again after three years. Watching the children paying tribute to their parents, I realized that these little children are also capable of these actions and filial piety. This reminds me that 'good deeds and filial piety cannot wait'."
Cultivation of filial piety through experiential education
Watching the children's skillful movements and unwavering dedication, the parents felt a surging heartfelt warmth. The father of six-year-old student Lim Kai Tong shared: "I am very grateful to the teachers and staff for the children's performance today. I believe the teachers have put in a lot of time and effort to guide the children, and I am thankful for your effort. "
After the event, the teachers and staff gathered for a review. They expressed mutual appreciation for the effort of one another. Although it was the first time handling this event for many teachers, and they were nervous and tense, everyone put in their best effort to make the event heart-warming and fulfilling for the children and parents.
Preschool teacher Ms Tan Lay Yong said, "This is my first time participating in the Parents Appreciation Day, and although I was a little nervous during the ceremony, I did my best to carry out the activity according to the procedure. I was glad to see that the parents were happy and willing to share their feelings about the event. "
Ms Xie Qiongmei, who has more than 20 years of experience in teaching, said: "From this event, I witnessed how Tzu Chi instills the virtue of filial piety through education. Seeing the parents' testament of the event reaffirmed my motivation in education."