It’s that time of the year again where the air lingers with mixed feelings of happiness and sadness. There is happiness as it’s time for celebration for both a job well done and a journey well undertaken. Yet there is sadness as this is the very end of it all. Students will be going their separate ways – either to pursue further studies or start working.

Welcome to the annual graduation party for school leavers. Today we commemorate this occasion with the Secondary 4 and 5 students from Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School…not forgetting the teachers as well.

Organizing any event is challenging. This is because there are many different parts that must be fitted well together to ensure the overall event is a success.

Success does not come overnight. It involves months of brainstorming, planning and re-adjusting to new variables and contingencies. But once you get into the groove of things, it’s just a matter of enjoying the process and savoring the fruits of labour. So whether it is a prom night or a graduation party (in this case), fret not as I’m about to share with you my 5 must-have tips to make your graduation event a memorable one.

So let’s get started on these essentials…

 

#1: Include A School Pageant Segment

No graduation event is complete without a school pageant. I see this as the highlight of the entire graduation party. So remember to allocate enough time (at least 1 hour or more) for this segment.

In universities, they call it the Hall King and Hall Queen. At a prom night, they crown Prom King and Prom Queen.

For this graduation party event, we chose our Ms and Mr Crestian title holders. 

It’s interesting as nominations were made both by the teachers and students. And when the nominated students were called on stage, they all gallantly upped their game and rose to the challenge. Of course, first we need a yardstick to guide us in the final selection of the nominees – amongst them the three critical criteria of confidence, poise and dressed to the graduation theme.

From twelve nominees in each gender category, it would be the norm to then filter the finalists based on their performance in both the Question & Answer (Q&A) segment and talent segment.

I love the Q&A segment the best as it really makes or breaks a nominee. 

And the moment we are all waiting for – the crowning of our Ms and Mr Crestian title holder winners – complete with pageant sashes, shopping vouchers and glittering tiara (for the lady).

school-pageant-graduation-event

 

#2: Screen The Montage Videos

There’s nothing more effective than having a quick blast back to the past with the screening of montage videos from all the classes. 

Each class is unique. Whether you are from the Express or Normal stream, each class is unique because it comprises unique individuals who have gone through both thick and thin over the last 4 or 5 years together.

Just looking at the moments in the video montage brings back memories – both of the classroom and outside of it. The pranks you used to play, the candid moments, the camaraderie forged at adventure camps or canoeing expeditions. We have seen them all. We have been through them all. Most importantly, we have grown through them all. 

This is a time of reminiscence as each memory is precious and deserves a place in our mental faculty.

If time permits, have one video from the teachers as well containing their well wishes for their students for a bright future ahead.

 

#3: Be Generous With The Lucky Draw Prizes

Yes, we all harbor secret hopes to win the grand prize. Yet, honestly, if we win a prize (any prize that is), it’s already considered good enough. 

Be generous with the lucky draw prizes so you increase the odds of winning one! And curate them as much as possible to suit the lifestyle needs of the youths. In my case, I went for IT gadgets, shopping vouchers and essential peripherals. For the record, in total, I gave out 68 prizes in all 

I even included a door gift for every attendee – one that fitted nicely with the event theme.

secondary-school-graduation-party-lunch 

 

#4: Serve Only Gourmet Food 

This is the culmination of it all – whether it is 4 or 5 secondary school years…So please serve only gourmet food. Who needs hawker or street food when it is so readily available? And no buffets either.

In such an important setting, my advice is to have nothing less than a four-course sit-down fine dining meal. Bring in the appetizers, entrée and dessert. 

With a fine-dining meal, participants can practise their dining etiquette skills, converse with ease around the tables and soak in the grand ambience of it all.

 

#5: Involve The People

This is the most important must-have ingredient to make the graduation party a success. 

The people.

People make events successful and memorable. 

When they come on time, you know the event is off on a winning note.

When they partake in fringe activities like photographs at the photobooth and balloon arch; cocktails and finger foods, you know your event planning team has thought through them all.

When they are dressed according to the theme – with the guys looking dapper in their suits and the ladies looking resplendent in their evening gowns, you know everyone is just waiting with eager anticipation for the graduation event to start and have a great time. 

If I were a teacher, I would pause and ask myself: is this the same girl or boy I taught back in class? Gosh…they look so different today…So matured, so dignified and so ready to take on the world.

school-prom-night-graduation-party 

So there you have it – my 5 must-have essentials for a successful graduation party! Most importantly, thanks for the memories as they will last a life-time =)

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Stepping back into pre-school is like stepping back in time…One will never forget the colourful charts pasted on the walls, the customized furniture and of course, the chirping sounds from the kids.

During this year’s national day rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the Government would double its annual spending on pre-school education within the next five years. More significantly, he emphasized the importance of having an education prior to primary schools – to start them off early on a winning note.

This is not surprising as pre-schools represent the window of opportunity for kids to build self-confidence, learn social skills and develop different faculties. 

Yet we know different kids learn differently. 

In this blog post, I would like to share 3 ways to help preschool teachers enhance better communication with the young ones.

 

Tip #1: Using The Right Modality 

People are unique creatures. We see things differently, we process information differently, we learn differently. That is why while some of us see a glass as full, others view it as half full.

It all boils down to our perception of the world around us and which of our five senses we choose to deploy in any particular circumstance.

I love Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) because it helps us understand each other better. There is a NLP tenet which I always share with my participants in communication workshops and it is this – representation systems.

We perceive the external world using a particular representation system. This is duplicated in our inner world. The five illustrations of representation systems are visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory.

Almost all of us choose to use a pre-determined mode of representation system when perceiving and processing information. In short, the message is processed differently in all of us.

Do we see the image? Or hear the words? Or feel the emotions?

Children learn using different modalities. They take in the information through their ears (auditory), eyes (visual), touch (tactile) and body movements (kinesthetic). While some do best with information they hear, others may find it easier to learn by seeing something.

In a particular instant, when they are reading from their storybooks or repeating after their preschool teachers, they are using their auditory representational system. In another instant, when they are describing the properties of a ball, they are “seeing” it visually in their minds and describing the shape, colour, size or texture of it.

The message is essentially the same. But the way we decipher and react to it differs according to the modality we choose to use.

Allow children to use their preferred mode of communication initially – whether it is touching, seeing, hearing or movement. Then encourage them to explore their other modes of communication. When we engage in multi-sensory learning, children understand there are multiple ways to learn and ultimately, all the various ways are in fact inter-related. You cannot segregate the senses. Instead, this sensory integration technique aids in reinforcing the child’s learning.

 

Tip #2: Explore Thematic Based Learning

As the saying goes, there is “method in the madness”. Indeed. 

I am a strong proponent of thematic based learning. After all, any form of learning is always integrated with other related areas and never done in isolation.

Simply put, thematic based learning involves connecting different areas of curriculum and integrating them using a theme.

By employing a variety of methods ranging from role play, group activities, learning journeys, repetitions and imagination, preschool teachers I have spoken to share that this aids literacy in kids to help them grow their vocabulary and more importantly, be more actively involved in learning.

One of the best examples I share is the four seasons (ok, I know Singapore does not have four seasons but…).

Using the thematic approach, let’s talk about summer. 

Summer starts with ‘S’. 

Summer is the season with the longest and warmest days of the year.

Summer occurs because of the way the Earth is tilted towards the sun.

Summer is when many crops are grown. Plants typically grow best in the summer months when they receive most sunlight.

Most animals are active in the summer and they start breeding. Others like the squirrel, begin to gather nuts for the winter.  

When summer comes, people tend to wear lighter, cooler clothes as the weather can get very hot. The colours tend to be more pastel or faded.

Because the weather is hot, some love to head to the beach to tan.

The leaves turn colour from vivid green to cooler green.

Once every four years, we have the Summer Olympic Games hosted by a different country. This sport event also sees athletes from different countries come together to compete to be crowned the world’s best.

I’ve just done a simple illustration using “Summer”.

preschool-teacher-communication-workshop-singapore

 

Tip #3: Make The Information Sticky

We often choose what to focus on. Bombarded with information of all sorts, we filter and internally decide how to orient our attention selectively. 

Here are three ways I will use (if I were a pre-school teacher) to make the information sticky so that my kids will learn faster and better:

Promote Learning, Not Teaching. When I teach, it is one way. You either accept it or don’t. But when I let you learn, you realise there are many interpretations and the world suddenly becomes so vast and boundless. 

Promote Edutainment, Not Education. The last thing I would want is to be educated. Yet I wouldn’t mind being edutained. Edutainment is when we dramatize something or role play. Children love to pretend they are heroes with magical powers. They love to make something bigger than life. Through edutainment, the message is communicated more effectively.

Ask Questions. Questions hook the mind. Get the kids to tell you in their own ways what happened…because if they have internalized the sharing earlier, they will be able to feed it back to you.

 

As educators, let's make it our business to engage in effective communication today!

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