During last year’s December school holidays from the 12th to 17th December, Tzu Chi Great Love PreSchool held a five-and-a-half-day camp with the theme, “Heathy Vegetarian Food”, for its K2 class. Principal of the PreSchool Audrey Koh said that the camp was an opportunity to test the life skills and knowledge that the students had learned in school over the year, such as manners and etiquette, basic living skills, self-discipline, etc.
Young Children Turn “Chefs”
One of the highlights of the K2 Camp was a cooking activity that allowed the children to cook a vegetarian dinner for their parents. In addition, the kids also went to the market with their teachers, to purchase fresh ingredients required for the meal, which included an appetizer, soup and pasta.
“Celery, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, baby corn, button mushrooms……” K2 student Li Xiu Yu earnestly recited the list of vegetables that must be purchased for the cooking activity, which was held on 16 December, the day before the last day of the camp.
Before embarking on their culinary attempt on that day, the little ones put on aprons and scarves on their head. When asked why they had to wear a scarf on their head, one of the children readily replied, “It’s because our hair may fall and drop into the food and be accidentally eaten by someone.”
The seventeen K2 Camp participants were separated into three groups – the first group prepared the appetizer, the second group prepared the main course (pasta) while the third arranged the tables and chairs in the classroom.
Though buzzing with excitement, the students were conscientious in performing their assigned tasks, putting in their best effort in preparing for the special occasion that night. Their innocent, little voices rang through the familiar school premises. K2 student Xu Xin Yi, who belonged to the group making the appetizer, cutely remarked, “I dislike eating tomatoes as their seeds and juice will come out as I chew them.”
“Put the pasta in gently. Be careful; don’t get burned!” K2 teacher Chong Voon Hwee reminded the students as they took turns to pour pasta into a large pot of boiling water.
Most of these kids are well taken care of at home, depending on their parents or maid to attend to their daily needs. Thus they were especially delighted and excited to have the opportunity to prepare a simple meal for their parents. “My mum cooks for us all the time and no one helps her; it must be tiring for her,” said K2 student Yu Xin Tong, thoughtfully.
An Enriching and Memorable Experience
“How do you find the taste? The kids made it themselves!” Principal Audrey Koh inquired the parents as they were tasting the dishes prepared by their children.
“Very nice!” replied the parents in unison, their hearts warmed by the painstaking efforts of their children.
“I’m very touched. The food cooked by the kids tasted especially nice. We never imagined that such young children are able to do something like that,” shared the mother of K2 student Li Xiu Yu. She felt that if parents could give more encouragement to their kids, are confident in what they can do, and give them more opportunities to do things by themselves, it will be beneficial to their growth and development.
Another fun activity in the camp was a craft session, where the little ones displayed their creativity by using newspaper and crepe paper to make various fruits and vegetables. Under the guidance of their teachers, they carefully crafted paper vegetables, such as cabbages, eggplants, carrots, tomatoes, etc.
In addition, the students also learned about the benefits of a vegetarian diet from two lessons, “Vegetarianism” and “Healthy Plate”, delivered by Malay teacher Rose and K2 teacher Chong Voon Hwee respectively.
The K2 teachers also arranged for their students to stay overnight in school on one of the nights during the camp. For many of the kindergarteners, it was the first time that they spent the night away from their family and the familiar environment of their home. This gave them the opportunity to experience something new and to foster their independence.
K2 student Li Xiu Yu’s father commented that he was not worried about his child spending the night in school and was confident that he could cope with it. He said, “The kids did not learn everything in just a few days at the camp. They had developed their interpersonal skills as well as build up their confidence and independence gradually during the few years they spent at the PreSchool.”
The five-and-a-half-day camp was a fun and enriching experience for the K2 children, leaving them with fond memories that they would cherish as they began a new stage of their learning journey in their respective primary schools.