2020 had been an extraordinary year for all of us with the COVID-19 pandemic. The learning in school was different with the cancellation of many out-of-school activities but we remained adaptable and innovative. We are able to this because of the strong culture of care and learning amongst the students and staff as well as the partnership we have with our parents and different stakeholders. So thank you all and we look forward to 2021 as we continue to provide all GESPians with a holistic education in a caring, safe and positive learning environment for them to learn for life.
Our Vision: Learners with Grit, Citizens with Heart
In 2020, we conducted various ‘Co-creating our Future’ conversations with our various stakeholders to envision what we would want to see in every GESPian in six years’ time. We are happy to share our revised vision: “Learners with Grit, Citizens with Heart”. We want to instil in our students sound values and future-ready skills and competencies so that they can be passionate learners who will persevere on, despite the challenges they face. That’s GRIT. We want them to learn to care for others and make a difference in the school, family as well as the community they live in. That’s the Singapore Spirit we want to develop in our students.
Educating a student is like growing a tree. It takes many years and “many hands” to grow a tree with deep roots. That is why we believe in building strong relationships with our parents and community partners to help our students be strongly anchored on sound character and values. Together, we grow the tree by providing a safe, supportive and conducive learning environment, and establishing a strong foundation of knowledge, skills and values.
The Story of the Butterfly Chrysalis
I would also like to share with you a wonderful story on the struggle of the butterfly.
There was a little boy who loved caterpillars. One day he found one, took it home and made a home for it. He watched this caterpillar every day, making sure it had plenty of food and water. One day the caterpillar started creating a cocoon...here it would go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly. This was so exciting that the little boy couldn’t wait to see the butterfly!
One day it happened. A small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out. The little boy was very excited! Then he noticed the butterfly was struggling hard to get out and it seemed like the butterfly wasn’t going to be able to break free! The little boy was so worried for the butterfly that he decided he had to help. He quickly got a pair of scissors and snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly immediately emerged!
However, the butterfly had a swollen body and small shrivelled wings. The little boy sat and watched the butterfly, expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, get bigger and expand to support the swollen body. But it never happened!
The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shrivelled wings. It never was able to fly…
The boy then learned that the butterfly was supposed to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon forces the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions actually hurt the butterfly.
Giving our students the SPACE to grow
Adversity and struggles are part and parcel of life and, as significant adults in our children’s life, the care and support that we show would help them be resilient and adaptable. Similar to the Butterfly Chrysalis, we need to give them the S.P.A.C.E to grow.
Support – Provide positive feedback and be willing to listen
Problem solve – Reflect on setbacks together and guide your children to develop alternate plans
Affirm – Affirm strengths and efforts and use effective praise
Cheer – Cheer your child on for every effort and celebrate all success, even small ones
Empower – Let your child make decisions and encourage them to voice their ideas
Let’s walk this journey together so that we can see the fruits of our labour in the years to come.