Instilling Environmental Concepts at Sports Meet

While enjoying themselves in the “Carbon Reduction through Carpooling” game, the participants became more aware of the importance of carbon reduction. [Photograph by Lee Siew Kuan]

As the sky was getting bright on the morning of June 30, 2019, teachers, parents and students of Da Ai Kindergarten Kepong had already gathered on the field of SJK (C) Desa Jaya, anticipating to participate in the Kindergarten’s fourth parent-child sports meet.

Accompanied by their family members, students of Da Ai Kindergarten Kepong arrived at the field of SJK (C) Desa Jaya. Their parents, donned in t-shirt representing their respective team colour, added a beautiful array of colours to the fresh green field.

Everyone sat relaxingly on the mats and enjoyed their breakfast while waiting for the sports event to commence.

All set and ready

Then, with music playing in the air, 6-year-old Li He Zhao and Zhang Shun Kai led their peers into the field, while waving the national flag and Tzu Chi flag respectively. They were followed by their teachers and parents.

In her opening remarks, Ch’ng Swee Peng, Deputy Head of the Kindergarten, thanked everyone for organizing and participating in the sports meet, and wished everyone an enjoyable day ahead as they participate in the activity that promotes health. Following that, a parent representative, Ong King Seng, was invited on stage to mark the commencement of the sports event by stepping on some plastic bottles. The merry sound delivered a message for everyone to conserve Earth’s resources and the living environment.

A parent, Ong King Seng, was invited to step on the plastic bottles to mark the opening of the sports event with the merry sound. [Photograph by Ho Kok Sen]

Chen Yi Kai, representative of the young athletes, then led everyone to cite the oaths before a warm-up exercise led by the teachers.

The theme for the 2019 sports meet was “Environmental Conservation through Vegetarianism”, which aimed to raise the participants’ awareness on the green initiatives while fostering closer relationships through the sports event.

To serve the purpose, the teachers came up with five games, each highlighting a practical way to conserve the environment in daily life. For example, in the “Carbon Reduction through Carpooling” game, 30 parents and children were required to fit themselves into a loop, which represents a vehicle, and move towards the destination.

The final game, a tug-of-war, saw the participants giving their best to win the game. The cheering from the other participants filled the field with energy and a jovial mood.

The mothers exerted all their energies in the tug-of-war game. [Photograph by You Yit Min]
The children giving their best in the puzzle game. [Photograph by Lee Siew Kuan]

Teacher Lim Hui Jia, who led the Programme Team, explained that the five environmentally-friendly practices (i.e., carbon reduction, vegetarianism, water conservation, energy saving and using reusable eating utensils) introduced through the games were in line with Master Cheng Yen’s call for everyone to “nurture a love for life, a heart of gratitude and respect for one another; and foster the spirit of harmony, prevent conflicts and create blessings hand-in- hand”. She said, classroom lessons aside, it is more important to gain commitment from the parents to practise environmental protection together with their children.

Enjoying nature

A parent, Lu Heok Cheng, who usually brings her child to indoor playground said, “This is the first time that my husband and I bring our 4-year-old daughter to participate in an outdoor activity. It gives us a chance to be close to nature, take in fresh air and enjoy the sun. It’s a new experience for my girl.”

Lu Heok Cheng (far right) was pleased at the family’s first participation in an outdoor event, which allowed them to be close to nature. [Photograph by Low Mai Yin]

Although Heok Cheng’s team did not perform very well in the games, it did not bother her as her main objective was to enjoy the process. To her surprise, they were awarded a medal each. Holding the medal, her daughter exclaimed with joy, “I too contributed towards the making of this medal!” It turned out that the teachers had engaged the children to tie the string over the medals prior to the event, to give them a sense of participation.

Lee Mei Yi, who enrolled her daughter into the Kindergarten half a year ago, assumed the leader role for the Pink Team with a heart to give. She said, “We have family day every weekend, but most of the time, we spend our day at a shopping mall and dining out. It’s our first time joining an outdoor event together.”

Mei Yi’s team emerged champion in the sports event. She shared happily that she values the participation more than the ranking. The most important thing was the team spirit and that everyone had given their best in the games.

Lim Chee Sheng, leader of the Grey Team, shared that he had wanted to help the children in completing the puzzle game, but managed to refrain from doing so because he believed that the children could do it themselves. He reckoned that winning the games gives a sense of recognition for their hard work, but more importantly, it is to instill the spirit of sportsmanship in the children – be humble in times of victory and keep the spirit up in times of defeat.

Lee Mei Yi (in pink top) assumed the role of team leader with a heart to give. [Photograph by You Yit Min]
Parent Lim Chee Sheng hoped that the children have learnt about the spirit of sportsmanship through the games. [Photograph by Lee Siew Kuan]

A parent, Ong King Seng, who runs a plastic processing business, had sponsored the medals for the sports day for two consecutive years. He handled everything, from discussion, design, and moulding to production of the medals himself. He explained that the medal design this year is different from last year. The teachers and students were involved in the final touch to fix pieces of plastics with pictures that signify the five environmentally-friendly practices to the medals, thus allowing them to better appreciate the virtue of conserving the environment.

The sports event ended in a happy mood, with 20 teachers presenting a medal to each child and giving them a warm embrace. Albeit a short event, it left a beautiful memory for everyone.

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