Under the accompaniment of beautiful, serene music, 18 six-year-old preschoolers, each bearing a lotus lamp in their hands, walked slowly in unison towards the stage in the Jing Si Hall. They were the graduating K2 students of Tzu Chi Great Love PreSchool and were about to undergo the turning of the tassel ritual.
A row of teachers stood on the stage and each of them turned the tassel for a student, from the right side of the mortarboard to the left. The gesture symbolised blessing and the hope that the little ones would emulate the humble spirit of a rice stalk—the fuller the rice stalk, the lower it bends.
One of the highlights of the event was the K2 students’ rendition of selected segments from Tzu Chi’s stage adaptation of the Sutra of Profound Gratitude towards Parents. It was not an easy feat for the young children to memorise the difficult sutra verses and learn the accompanying sign language. But with the patient instruction of and explanations from their teachers, they were able to touch the audience’s hearts with their vivid performance.
The K1 class also staged a presentation titled “The Filial Crow”, with the assistance and support of parents, who kindly helped with making props and costumes for the kids.
Then a video clip showing scenes of the children in class was screened. As they watched the clip, the parents in the audience were not only amused by the scenes depicting cute and candid words of the little ones, but also moved to tears by those showing the latter’s kind and thoughtful deeds. After that, the children served their parents glutinous rice balls, and their loving gestures warmed the hearts of the adults.
When preschooler Zhan Shu Yun was feeding her mother, Chen Li Ping, glutinous rice balls, the latter was deeply moved. She shared, “Tzu Chi Great Love PreSchool not only imparts knowledge, but also promotes the value of filial piety and inspires kindness in the kids. I am very touched by that.”
Parent Wu Shu Fen and her family are all vegetarians. After enrolling her daughter in a kindergarten that served vegetarian food, the young girl felt quite lonely during mealtimes, being the only vegetarian in class. Later, she joined Tzu Chi Great Love PreSchool.
“After my daughter joined the PreSchool, she was able to share more topics with us after coming home from school, and she has also become a happier girl!” said Wu.
The young mother shared that she was happy and relieved to have made the right choice. Her initial worries and concerns gradually dissipated after seeing how well her beloved daughter adapted to her new school, where she learned and shared Jing Si Aphorisms (wise sayings by Dharma Master Cheng Yen), cultivated a sense of responsibility, and learned to care for other kids.
Zhu Si Ming, a graduating K2 student, is an introvert and has reading difficulties. He joined the Great Love PreSchool in 2014. The teachers taught him according to his ability, while also communicated with his parents on an ongoing basis to update them on their child’s progress and development. The other kids in the class would also help Si Ming in learning to read, and the conducive environment had motivated the shy boy to express himself more. He was also happy to have made many new friends in school.
Watching his son perform onstage, Si Ming’s father, Zhu Wei Hao, was deeply moved. He commented that he and his wife did not expect that their boy would be able to memorise the complex hand signs and movements for the sutra adaptation. They were very touched and happy to see how much their little boy has grown and improved.
“We hope that Si Ming will grow up to be someone who knows how to give to help others, just like a Tzu Chi volunteer,” said Mr Zhu.