Tzu Chi coordinates ACE pupils monthly visit St. Martin’s Home

POSTED: 10/6/14 12:15 PM

Pupils and teachers from All Children’s Education Foundation (ACE) primary school and ACE’s pilot humanitarian kindergarten section started their monthly visits to St. Martin’s Home on Friday, September 26.

The visit was coordinated by the St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation. A group of 30 pupils from the primary section and 12 from the pilot kindergarten humanitarian section visited the home for a day of pampering and interaction with the elderly. The visit is part of the school’s efforts to instill humanitarian and charity principles in pupils, which follows the teachings of Tzu Chi founder Master Cheng Yen. It is also a concerted effort to teach the young pupils the importance of giving back, paying homage to the elderly and respect for elders.

Humanity and Charity has been added to the school’s curriculum and will be a regular feature in the Philosophy of Life subject taught to pupils. Students were selected for the first visit when the school opened an invitation for 15 students to voluntarily sign up to be trained to perform for the first visit. The first day the call was made a generous number of 30 pupils responded by signing up.

All pupils were trained to perform sign language song “The three Nos” during morning assembly, but the 30 pupils who signed up rehearsed extra with choreographic movements and sign language.

The pupils were well prepared on the day of the visit. After a lively welcome song with pupils clapping their hands and walking around the elderly under the guidance of Tzu Chi Commissioner Yamille Teacher; ACE Director Claire Elshot delivered brief opening remarks.

Elshot introduced pupils to the elderly clients and outlined the purpose of the visit. She also illustrated the value of having pupils visit the home as an expression of love and care for the elderly, whom she referred to as their “grandparents.”

“Although it wasn’t their real grandparents who are at the St. Martin’s Home, teaching them about care for the elderly would also bring about the respect that we see to be losing for the generation who has worked hard to build our community,” Elshot said.

Pupils had a chance to put into practice what they learnt at school when they performed “the three Nos,” sign language song, which sends a firm message that there is no one in the world that one cannot love, trust and forgive. They also performed the 10 miracle hands exercise in which elderly clients were encouraged to make small movements with their hands and fingers as an exercise routine. Pupils were then placed in groups of three to massage residents using special tools for this purpose or their hands. They also interacted with clients.

A few of the older girls changed the nail polish on the fingers of several female residents. The girls had practiced beforehand at the school. To wrap up the hour-long visit, pupils gathered and sang a closing prayer, which began with the words “Let us pray for peace in our land. Keep our hearts from sorrow and pain…”

Elshot said the pupils said they had been happy to have been given an opportunity to visit the St. Martin’s Home and were eager for another chance to return in the future. They encouraged those who hadn’t visited yet, to do so. Tzu Chi volunteers who assisted in the exercise were Bradly Attyl and Miss Britton. The school will continue the visit the last Friday of each month.


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