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Easing back to normalcy

10 Jun 2022

Students from Peiying Primary School playing a game of catch during recess.
Students from Peiying Primary School playing a game of catch during recess. 

Football matches, camps, music jam sessions… students have once again been experiencing aspects of school life that had been on hold for the last two years due to the safe management measures in place in schools. Here, students share what they enjoyed the most after the hiatus. 

After two years of e-CCAs, school celebrations being held over Zoom, restrictions on group sizes and sitting apart from each other, the easing of safe management measures (SMMs) brought back many of the familiar school activities, much to students’ delight. What are the students enjoying the most? Here’s what they had to say at Peiying Primary, Unity Primary, Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary and Serangoon Gardens Secondary.

Peiying Primary School

Enacting stories at Reader’s Theatre 
 Primary 3 students learn vocal techniques and enact scenes at the Reader’s Theatre programme.

The last time nine-year-old Vellerie Lee had had an in-person English enrichment class, she had been in Primary 1. These classes had been on hold for the last two years, so for Vellerie, now in P3, it was a treat to see her teacher, Mrs Madhan, enacting the characters from the story book up-close. “I didn’t know my teacher was such a great actor,” she said. “It really brought the story to life.”

Another P3 student Ike Ho’s class was reading The Lion and the Mouse. Ike was so taken with the story, he mimicked the animals while his classmates giggled. “I could see my trainer, Mrs Rama’s face clearly. It’s easier to learn how to pronounce difficult words, when you can see the teacher’s face,” he said.

Exercising with friends
2Alyssa (front row, middle) enjoys a good workout with their classmates during recess.

For two years, Primary 4 student Nur Alyssa Maria Syuhadah Binti Mohamad Asha’ari had missed playing with her classmates in the school compound. She was thrilled that the running track is now open and she could compete with her classmates instead of just sitting and eating with them during recess.

In-person project work
P6 student Titus (middle) works with team mates on a group Science project.

Titus Koh, Primary 6, was thrilled that he could sit with his group mates to discuss projects. There had been no face-to-face groupwork for a while. Titus’s team was working on a Science project, where they used waste materials to construct a model of a water fountain. “We could pass the materials around to each other easily and try different ways of constructing it. It was so much more efficient and enjoyable!”

Titus is also looking forward to the return of the upcoming school event, Celebration of Learning, where students will get to display their class projects in a physical exhibition, and try out interactive exhibits.

Unity Primary School

Playing football with seniors4
The soccer team dribbles the ball with their seniors.

Avid footballer Muhammad Aizac Hezry Bin Muhamad Muhaimin, Primary 5, was thankful that he could play matches against his Primary 6 seniors. Before the easing of the SMMs, he could only play with team mates from his level. “My P6 seniors taught me how to control the ball and manage my anxiety during a game. Now I feel more confident on the field.” He is looking forward to learning more tricks from them and showing off his goalpost-guarding skills.

Gathering all Student Leaders 
Senior Student leaders guide their juniors in mixed groups.

When Primary 5 Student Leader Yip Zhuo Xuan had to speak to a live audience of 200, he found himself tongue-tied. It had been a while since he was able to gather with so many people.

At the training session for Student Leaders across levels, he realised that once he had shaken off his stage fright of speaking face-to-face, it was easier to get people’s attention and see how they felt about his speech. “They were also more willing to ask questions than compared to virtual sessions. It was an enjoyable experience.”

Group activities at day camps
6P6 students play ‘helium hoop’, a team-bonding activity at a day camp.

Tiara Qistina Binte Shahrudin loved the day camp ‘Primary 6 Unité’ this year as she could work with her team on group activities, like building a tower using raw spaghetti, tape and string, and also participate in a scavenger hunt. They also got to play “Pass the Message” with friends and ‘helium hoop’, a balancing game. “Last year during my outdoor learning experience, I had to cook instant soup in a mess tin by myself as we had to sit apart.”

Serangoon Garden Secondary School

Live audience7Outgoing Student Leaders pass ‘the flame’ to incoming leaders, representing the renewal of leadership from one batch to the next.

For Student Leader Rana Chandra, the highlight of this year’s Leaders’ Investiture Ceremony was when outgoing and incoming student leaders exchanged meaningful items. For instance, leaders from the Media Club passed on a camera, while those from Sports CCAs handed over a football and netball to their juniors. “It was a pretty moving sight! This could not have happened over the last two years when we could not meet face to face.”


CCA Camaraderie  
8Members of the Choir CCA sing next to one another.

“I really missed standing next to my choir mates and singing together,” said Secondary 4 student Nurafiqah Binte Saaib. “Being able to do that brought such a sense of togetherness that I haven’t felt in a long time.” She added, “For virtual sessions, there were audio issues or background noise. I am also glad that I don’t have to give my juniors feedback over the computer screen. I can now observe their postures and give more personalised feedback.”

Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School

Outdoor activities
Students were once again able to hike around Singapore as a group. (This photo was at a previous hike prior to COVID-19)

“I can’t wait to head to the great outdoors for this year’s OLE!” says Secondary 3 student Kaitlyn Choor. OLE, or Outdoor Learning Experience, is one of the highlights of the school year for students across all levels. Students and their teachers participate in activities such as cycling, kayaking, abseiling and hiking.

“Over the last two years, we were only able to do outdoor cooking, that too, sitting apart from one another. I really enjoyed hiking with my classmates during this year’s OLE!"

Music jams
A student plays an upbeat tune on the piano during recess time.

For two years, the music jamming corner students call the “Soundwell” had fallen silent. The piano sat unopened. The guitars hung on the walls, collecting dust. But recently, students have been jamming there again. 

Jeason Shawn David Romadhona Sutisna, Secondary 4, who has been heading to the Soundwell during recess to play the piano, says, “It’s great when people come over and play along with me.” Isaac Lee, a classmate who also plays the piano, agrees, “Making music at the Soundwell is such a great way to spread joy. I’m glad we get to play all these instruments together again!”