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A Staff Learning Day designed for us to Play!

Updated: Apr 3

The morning was bustling with energy and shrieks of “eh, hello!!” as all our teachers and staff gathered at Orchard Road Presbyterian Church for our very first Learning Day of the year last Friday. Learning Days are for teachers to undergo training several times a year as part of professional development. This round, the theme for the day was ‘Don’t Play Play!’, which reminded us not to underestimate the power of play at work and in our personal lives. We started off the day with worship, thanking God for his faithfulness and his new mercies for yet another day. Our Executive Director, Mr Lim Ee Tuo then shared about why Play matters. Play enables us to grow and be grounded by our curiosity and childlikeness; outstanding achievements only happen when our hearts are fully in it, and when we are playful and curious.  

“I’ve not seen someone pretend to enjoy play, neither have I seen someone do excellent work unless they have put in their heart,” he shared.

But what should we do if our hearts are tired and broken? We should play, and play with others as play sparks joy and is energy giving! If we are unable to play, then we should pray and commit our circumstances to God.

But what should we do if our hearts are tired and broken? We should play, and play with others. If we are unable to play, then we should pray and commit our circumstances to God.

And play we did. To appreciate the various talents of our staff and to promote the spirit of learning from one another, we had 3 sessions of workshops going on throughout the day, with every workshop being led by a staff. Everyone was spoilt for choice as there were so many categories to choose from, such as art, dance, cooking, inclusive strategies, ukulele playing and more!  

At the kitchen and courtyard, participants whipped up a feast for the senses as delectable ingredients were transformed into interesting dishes with delightful aromas. We had staff from HQ doing live demonstrations on how to cook vegetables with the healthy ‘water frying’ method as well as how to make ‘mua chee’ with just four simple ingredients – flour, oil, water and peanut mix.

“I didn't realise making muah chee was easy, and some of us even thought of adding flavours to the muah chee like pandan flavour or rolling it into a dumpling and filling it with durian!” exclaimed Uhma, Vice-Principal of LOT Yishun.

"我看到了各位老师认真努力学习包饺子的样子,有年轻人有年纪大一些的老师,从她们身上我看到“活到老,学到老。”不断充实自己。 I saw teachers working hard to wrap the dumplings, including the younger and older ones. I really saw them living out the the ‘live until you are old, and learn until you are old.’ mantra, since they constantly seek to improve themselves." - Zhang Jinglin, LOT Hougang.

Everyone had the chance to try their hand at these new cooking methods that can be used at home or in school with the children. The best part was, they tasted the fruits of their labour soon after! Mm mm.  

There were so many classes on art techniques using a diversity of mediums, which was a testament to our colleagues’ inspiring talents and abilities! From acrylic and watercolour painting, to crocheting, to Nagomi pastel art and mobile photography, there were endless opportunities for all to get their creative juices flowing and express themselves artistically.

Acrylic Pour Art Workshop

"I gained a new perspective that it's ok to be messy as it is part of art. A mistake or mess can turn into a beautiful masterpiece. The workshop was fun and light so it was a good break for the teachers," shared Tomas Princess Anne Gilo from LOT Holland Village. Look at the unique artworks made by all the participants above! Writing is also a form of art that requires years of experience and continuous practice. For the workshop aimed to guide teachers on ‘The Write Way’, Baldonado Alma from LOT AMK learnt that writing is not always about the perfect construction of a composition but how you see the subject that has caught your interest. She also found that writing or journalling is one way to release your emotions and improve your thoughts.

"原来用气球也可以做出多种花样,让人感到开心快乐! 我会把学到的东西跟同事、孩子们分享。| It turns out that balloons can be sculpted into variety of things, which brings people so much joy! I will share what I learned with my colleagues and children, " shared Wang Chun Hua, LOT Marsiling who joined the balloon sculpturing workshop. Jessica Rimorin from LOT Yishun attended the Canva workshop, which covered basic design principles and techniques to create art digitally. She shared, "I can now create much better documentations for children's moments and outputs, having learnt the proper usage of font, font size and contrast colors. There were very useful ideas on how to use and explore Canva shared with us."

For teachers who were looking for ideas on how to make their lessons more engaging and inclusive, they could choose from workshops that focused on outdoor learning, inclusive play and even sign language! For example, Oledan Christian Merro from LOT P51 realised how certain games can exclude children with needs, thus she will be more mindful of planning games with the intentional goal of inclusivity, focusing on the abilities of the children rather than their disabilities.  

"我学到怎样执行小班的户外或室内体育游戏。有各种有趣的体育活动玩法,创意创新,各种材料的运用。 谢谢老师们的精心预备和投入的带领,受益匪浅。| I learnt how to conduct outdoor and classroom physical games, having tools like a variety of interesting sports activities, creativity and innovation, and the use of various materials. Thank you to the teachers for their careful preparation and guidance. I have benefited a lot," shared Shen Hong Wei, LOT Jurong West.


Yet others were looking for ways to move their body and get active, or hoped to learn a new instrument.  Through dance classes, picking up skills on how to use their voices and playing the ukulele, participants really expended their physical energy to play! 

Pathi Saritha from LOT Jurong West had these takeaways from her urban street vibe class: "For dance, just follow the beat and move your body accordingly. There is no need to copy others. Accept the movements children do, guiding them with some catchy words and movements."

"We did some stretching to relax our mind during the stretching masterclass. 

I suggest to teachers to do some stretching with the children when the teacher notices that the children are restless. I think this may help to bring back their attention and be focused," Steffie Hui, Admin Assistant from LOT P21 expressed.

At the end of the day, play really made everything okay! Everyone powered through three sessions with smiles on their faces, whether they were sharing their knowledge with their peers as a facilitator, or learning from their friends as a participant. Indeed, playing with our hearts allows us to learn with freedom, build relationships and heal our souls at the same time. We can’t wait to play with our friends again, and also create everyday moments where we can squeeze in moments of play!


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