As the recess bell rang, the school campus was suddenly bustling with excitement. While students chatted around and took a break, some students from senior levels went into the classrooms of their younger fellows, talking to them and caring for their needs. This is one of the many activities arranged by the Discipline and Counselling Team of The Salvation Army Ann Wyllie Memorial School. The activities aim at cultivating a loving and caring culture in the school and building students’ confidence and good characters through mutual support.
In this “Big Brother Big Sister” scheme, senior level students will provide assistance for their younger fellows in the beginning of the semester. The School’s Discipline and Counselling Team’s leader, Vice School Head Mr. Chu adds that they would go to the respective classrooms of the younger students to offer help. If they are too young that their hand muscles are weak, they could get some help from senior students during mealtimes.
Helping Newcomers to Adapt to the New Environment
School Head Mr. Ma Kai Lung explained that the transition of younger students from kindergarten to primary school takes quite a lot of adaptation. If someone could offer assistance in this transitional period, it would mean a lot to them. As senior level students have relevant experience, their help is very valuable. These relationships would also promote the spirit of mutual support and care at school.
Mr. Ma believes that senior level students who were part of this programme can extend the serving spirit to help others in the community. These experiences are crucial in preparing them for their future lives.
“No Students Left Behind”
All the “Big Brothers and Big Sisters” from the scheme are the school’s “Caring Ambassadors”. Mr. Chu explained that they expect students to be able to build positive values through serving others. These “Caring Ambassadors” do not have to be the best students. With the help of social workers, they invited students who are less confident or with some social difficulties to join the program, encouraging them to care for other schoolmates to help building their self-confidence.
“Every student is equally important. We would not leave anyone behind,” said Mr. Chu. “The school does not pay special attention to any specific student based on their exceptional scores or characters. We treasure each and every student. Every one is given an equal opportunity.”
Dedicated to Cultivate a Caring Culture
The school’s Discipline and Counselling Team also arranged other events, such as taking polaroid photos for all students on their birthdays. Mr. Chu shared that all the teachers in the unit are passionate about their work. They hope that through organizing diverse events and evaluating afterwards, they can help students enjoy their school life proactively and feel cared for by their teachers as well as their peers.
As a result of the teachers’ hard work, the caring culture flourished in the campus. Vice School Head Mr. Chu shared that some students who were taken care of as newcomers volunteered to be part of the programme as Caring Ambassadors to help their younger fellows, passing on this great culture. School Head Mr. Ma said that they will continue to practice the school’s acclaimed caring culture with other counselling activities, hoping to refine the school’s loving atmosphere and inclusion practices.
Faith-based Pastoral Care
‘Corps and Schools Partnership’ is a one of the characteristics of TSA schools. Lieutenant Michael Lam and Lieutenant Forrest Tsoi, Chaplains of the school, make use of morning assemblies, ECA and special classes to nurture students’ spiritual growth and care for them in a wide range of activities. Lieutenant Lam believes that it is important to put himself in the shoes of his audience. He explained that you will never know their needs unless you connect with them. This is even more so in terms of interacting during the pandemic, where a simple welcome or a smile in the morning could be an encouragement to students and an opportunity to understand their needs.
Lieutenant Tsoi points out that students not only feel stressed because of their studies, their parents are also under pressure during the pandemic. This is why they are dedicated to care for students with Bible verses spiritually besides the school’s regular distribution of daily necessity. She believes that the primary school period is essential in shaping students’ characters, so it is important to surround them with love.