Christian Fellowship students pilot Reading Buddy programme with community

Christian Fellowship students pilot Reading Buddy programme with community
Christian Fellowship students pilot Reading Buddy programme with community
(left) Mr Wee Lian Kuanh, Christian Ministry Staff, delivering donated books to Ms Shirley Soh, Centre Principal of Sparkletots (Right) ACS (International) CF students put their storytelling skills to the test

On 24 March 2023, students and staff from ACS (International)’s Christian Fellowship (CF) led in a joint community effort with a community library in Holland Village, to engage preschoolers from the nearby Sparkletots branch through educational and fun activities. The event took place at the void deck of Block 2 Holland Avenue, where a ground-up initiative known as “HV Little Library” sprung up last year, through the efforts of Holland Village residents. It was the first time CFers had organised such an outreach event.

Kicking off the Reading Buddy programme, the CF students read the book, The A-B-Cs of Kindness, a book which illustrates examples of kind acts. This was followed by a colouring activity on the same theme. The hour-long programme ended with song and dance, which was led by one of the CF leaders.

The 13 CF students had to step out of their comfort zones, as many of them were not well-versed in interacting with young children, much less leading a programme for them. CF student from Year 2, Zhu Ruo Tong, recalled how she felt “very awkward” given that it was her first time being with so many young children.

However, the responsiveness, attentiveness and good nature of the children helped the CFers ease into their roles. For CF CCA Captain, Luke Lai, he learnt to adapt the programme to suit the children’s attention spans. “The children began to get restless, so we adapted by quickly finishing the book and moving on to the next activity, which was colouring.”

ACS Int'l CFers, Ms Wong and Sparkletots preschoolers
The HV Little Library at Blk 2 Holland Avenue provided a cozy venue for the Reading Buddy outreach programme

It certainly paid off. “All of the children shared the pencils and began colouring happily. They were also really talkative and continued to talk to me as they coloured. It gave me a confidence boost, as it showed that they were engaged in our outreach, and allowed me to push on,” said Luke, a Year 5 student.

Collaborating with the community library

A month prior to the Reading Buddy outreach event, Ms Wong Kae Chee, who started the community library, was invited to a CF meeting to share on the theme of “Serving our Community” and why she was led to start the library. Ms Wong, who is a Christian, reminded the students and staff that service was not by personal efforts alone but that God had multiplied her efforts to serve the community.

The library started with a small collection of books, and has gradually grown from the generosity of residents living nearby. Besides being a space for residents to read, residents also come to the library to make friends, and participate in sewing classes. The library has become part of the community at Holland Village and garnered media attention.

“Her sharing spurred our CF community to do this outreach in dependence on God,” said Mr Wee Lian Kuanh, a Christian Ministry staff at ACS (International).

As Mr Hong Ching Chong, CF CCA teacher, remarked, “I am thankful to God for his provision and this opportunity to bless the kindergarten children. Many of our students are heartened and encouraged to serve in future.”

Dominique Wang is the Digital Content Producer at MCS Comms. / Photos courtesy of ACS (International)