Reflecting on the First Day of School
It has been a week now since 1 September when our campus opened its doors to the first batch of students who were permitted to attend classes on campus. Learning spaces and playgrounds came alive once again as students and teachers alike restarted activities.
Easing Into the Week
The first day (and indeed the entire week) was spent on easing students into their new environment, especially those joining our community for the first time this semester. A number of icebreaker activities for all ages were designed by co-teaching teams. Different introductory activities were undertaken with Year 1 students, for example, playing a name-that-friend game that enabled them to get to know more of their classmates.
Year 6 students also participated in a similar “about me” activity where they designed and drew their nametags. Teachers also let them introduce their favourite things in Chinese, something that will be useful in designing activities for the rest of the academic year, according to Ms Joy Qu, a Year 6 Chinese teacher.
For Secondary students there was extended tutor time for the first 30 minutes of the morning. Ms Allison Cusato, a Secondary Art teacher, added that another way they made the first day of school pleasant for seniors was organising an assembly that helped them familiarise with the schedule as well as with the shift in emphasis to student and faculty wellbeing. This was a key focus for Secondary coordinators, Ms Hayley Edge and Mr Jonathan Mellen.
New epidemic prevention procedures were also introduced to ensure all are abreast of health and safety information.
For Mr Harry Chambers, Year 1 Western Co-teacher, the opportunity to get to know new pupils was the highlight of the first day of school. “For me it’s very useful to get to know children in person rather than just being a strict teacher,” he says, although great emphasis is laid on maintaining order in the classroom. Establishing a friendly relationship is crucial as some students are new to the formal school environment and others are unfamiliar with YCIS Primary practice.
Teachers forced into an online regimen were delighted to be back to face-to-face interaction. Echoing this sentiment was Ms Cusato. “It felt great to see my students again on campus. I had been missing them while teaching online. It’s just not the same experience,” she says.
For students like Lara De Carlini in Year 5, the return to school and old friends brought much excitement and joy. It had been eight months since she last set foot on campus.
What to Expect
eLearning continues for students who are in quarantine or overseas and plans for the weeks to follow have been outlined. More academic activities will be introduced in the coming weeks once students have settled in. The campus will continue to be abuzz as more students and teachers return.
Ms Cusato adds that much excitement surrounds the build-up to our 25th anniversary celebration as well as Founder’s Day in October.
We look forward to these wonderful milestones as our teachers continue to fashion the best possible school experience for the children working closely with parents.