On 14 July 2014, MacPherson Primary School hosted members of COMPASS, led by Chairpersons of COMPASS, Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Education and Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower. Through this visit, COMPASS members were given insights on the school’s efforts to enhance school-home-community partnerships to enable students to attain the desired outcomes of education.
School principal, Mdm. Rostinah Mohd Said, shared on the school’s outreach efforts in getting parents involved in their children’s education and development. She also shared how the school adopted a multi-pronged approach in collaborating with community partners to support the school with additional resources in delivering holistic education for the students.
In partnering parents, one key outreach programme adopted by the school is the annual Parents in Education Conference held in January each year. This is funded by the Parents in Education (PiE) Fund, donated by Emeritus Senior Minister Mr. Goh Chok Tong. The 2-day conference involves community partners and learning experts to help create more awareness for parents on what their children will be learning in school, the kind of community support that is available for their families, parenting tips as well as tips on how to support their children’s learning at home. In seeking partnerships with the community, the school focuses on the needs of their students, guided by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory. One such example is the school’s partnership with South East Community Development Council and Bartley Community Services to run a weekly South East Kids A’Glow Reading Programme to help students improve their reading skills. The programme also involves the students’ parents who are coached on parenting and self-esteem modules.
COMPASS members were updated on the latest developments in Student Care Centres (SCC) in schools, before they proceeded to visit the school’s SCC that is fully run by voluntary welfare organisation Singapore Buddhist Lodge. COMPASS members saw how a typical afternoon was like for students enrolled in the SCC. There was play time and homework supervision by the SCC teachers, and also character development activities aligned to the school’s Character and Citizenship Education curriculum.
COMPASS members also visited the school’s Learning Community Garden which provides outdoor experiential learning where the students can learn more about the biodiversity of plants. With some seed funding given by South East Community Development Council, the school was able to set up the garden. Members of the Parent Support Group (PSG) and ex-students regularly pitch in to help maintain the flora, greenery and beauty of the garden.
At the last stop of the school tour, COMPASS members were brought to the KidsZone, a recreation, sports and learning centre set up by community partners Bartley Community Care Services and The LOVEAID Project. Volunteers run daily after-school engagement activities for the students to interact, learn and play in a safe and positive environment. The partners also run a Family Support and Referral Programme within KidsZone to provide family-based support, including referrals to government agencies as well as monthly Dads for Life programmes under the umbrella of Ministry of Social and Family Development. These programmes aim to promote positive family values and encourage fathers to spend quality time with their children.
After the tour, COMPASS members had the opportunity to interact with staff, students and parents. COMPASS members were heartened to hear how the school’s efforts to develop strong school-home-community partnerships enhanced the positive learning experience for the students.