For children to grow into well-rounded individuals, teaching them about acts of kindness and helping others who are less fortunate will help them learn to appreciate life and develop a gracious mindset.
Over at Northoaks Primary School, students learn about Honesty, Empathy, Respect, Appreciation and Tenacity (HEART) through the various activities conducted in the Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) programme known as Project HEART. Every year, towards the end of the school’s second term, the students engage in fun and experiential activities that allow them to apply the values that they have learned to their daily lives.
The aim of Project HEART is to impart students with interpersonal skills necessary for building positive relationships and influencing them to be proactive in making decisions that enhance the well-being of self and others.
Building the right foundation
Primary 1 and 2 students participate in activities based on the story of “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud. As an example, the students learn how to write notes of appreciation for one another and place them in customised cups (filling their buckets). Also, they learn about making decisions on how to be a Bucket-filler by doing kind and empathetic acts for their friends instead of a Bucket-dipper, who does unkind acts or makes others unhappy.
“One of the most interesting activities would be the Bucket-filling activity where students write Appreciation notes for one another and place them in little "buckets" for each of their friends. Our staff receive these thank you notes too!” said Ms Valerie Tan, teacher-in-charge of the programme.
For Primary 3 and 4 students, they would propel the bucket filling movement forward by learning about “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Through the activities based on this book, the students learn about the actions they can do to respond to one another and build better bonds and positive relationship. They also shared this activity with their parents so that they can respond positively to each other as a family.
Learning to be kind
Janelle Yeo, a Primary 4 student, looks forward to Project HEART activities every year. She shared the values that she learned about in school with her family members at home. Upon learning about the preferred love languages of her family members, she was able to express her love and care for them better.
“I learned how to be caring towards others,” said Janelle.
On the other hand, Jayden Chan, a Primary 2 student enjoys the activities planned for Project HEART, such as creating badges where he can demonstrate his appreciation for others and be a better ambassador of the school values.
“I get to practice and learn the meaning of the HEART values,” said Jayden.
The donation drive for Children’s Cancer Foundation (CCF) is another core aspect of Project HEART where students demonstrate empathy for other children. The intention of the donation drive is not about an open donation from parents or students. Instead, it teaches them to spend lesser and not to splurge unnecessarily so that they will be able to donate their spare pocket money for a good cause. Primary 3 student, Faith Alexandrea Selvam shared that she started saving a small portion of her pocket money to donate to CCF. She does so because she was grateful to be healthy and empathise with the children’s plight.
Ms Tan also shared that the students were able to develop greater self-awareness and built better friendship bonds through all the activities conducted in the programme.
“When each child gives a little, their actions will help to strengthen the relationship between their friends and loved ones,” she said.