“Who has heard about MH17?” asked Principal of Eunos Primary School, Mrs Jennifer Choy, during morning assembly a few days after the aviation tragedy struck.
Raising their hands, many students were eager to share what they knew.
As Mrs Choy shared about a family of six victims, who were returning to Malaysia after their father’s three-year work stint overseas, students fell silent. If things had gone according to plan, the family would have been reunited with loved ones for the Hari Raya Puasa celebrations they had been looking forward to.
The message driven home - Life is unpredictable. We should treasure what we have, take time for the people in our lives and have bigger hearts of forgiveness.
"When Mrs Choy shared about MH17, I felt very sad. It made me think about my own family and how we must treasure the moments we have,” said Redhza Fouzey, a primary six student.
The conversation about MH17 continued amongst students and teachers even after the morning assembly, and Mrs Choy encouraged them to read the newspapers to find out more.
“We want to seize these teachable moments,” said Mrs Choy who is a strong advocate of values education, “They can’t be active contributors if they don’t know and respond to what is happening.”
MH17 is not the first global issue that the school has discussed. Students and teachers also discussed the tsunami disaster in Japan, Typhoon Haiyan that hit Philippines and closer to home, the haze problem and flash floods.
For both the tsunami and Typhoon Haiyan, the school prefects also put values into action by initiating efforts to spread awareness of the tragedies and raise funds for the victims.
*The effort to encourage students to read beyond their textbooks is part of the school’s Reading for Enjoyment programme, which also includes the introduction of fiction literary works and storytelling by teachers.