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Learning 6 Aug 2021

Our TK principals share what they love about a new school year

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

Life at our TK campus wouldn't be the same without the leadership of principal Angela Henderson (right) and vice-principal Cherie Boltong (left). We sat down for a chat to find out what they learned over the summer break and what we can look forward to in the next school year. We also discovered a few quirky facts.

How do you feel about starting a new school year?

Angela: I love the build up to a new school year and I still get nervous and excited on the first day of school. One of the best parts of a new school year is seeing the students' faces light up as they reconnect with their friends and previous teachers. Also, as all of our students were new at some point they are particularly skilled at welcoming new students. My challenge the first week is to get into classrooms and meet all the new students and then try and remember their names.

Cherie: I am really looking forward to reconnecting with the staff and students and forming new relationships with those who are just joining us for the first time. I can't wait to see the smiling faces coming off the bus or through the front gate on the first day.

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Tell us a little bit about your summer, which must have looked a little different than usual given that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic.

Angela: My husband and I are golfers but prior to COVID I rarely golfed in Singapore, saving golf for vacation destinations. However, since travel was not an option this break, we hit the Keppel links quite regularly. I also rented a spin bike during this latest lockdown and now have no excuses to fit in regular exercise.

Cherie: It was tough spending another year away from family without any visits, but I enjoyed the break reading and relaxing. I loved not waking up to an alarm clock.

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Do you have any tips for parents to help their children settle into the new school year?

Angela: It's natural for children to be nervous and the best advice I can give to parents is to acknowledge and validate their child's feelings. Sit with them and ask what situations are making them anxious, perhaps it's the canteen or not knowing where to play or maybe how to find the bathroom. If you don't know the answer, then imagine some possible scenarios for how they would ask for help from a friend or teacher. If a child is not settled after the first couple of days, it is best to reach out to the classroom teacher and then let them know.

Cherie: Children will sense any anxieties you have surrounding starting a new school year regardless of how well you think you may be hiding them, so show them how excited you are for the upcoming opportunities, answer their questions, be prepared, and get a good night’s sleep.

Looking forward, do you have any personal goals for the coming year?

Angela: It was a sad and shocking revelation when Canada began to discover hundreds of graves from Residential Schools over our break. As a Canadian, I can honestly say that learning about the indigenous people of Canada was not a part of my education. To try and take some meaningful and personal action, I registered for an online course: Indigenous Canada. The course explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada from an Indigenous perspective.

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Cherie, can you tell us about a favourite moment or quote that means a lot to you.

Cherie: One of my favourite quotes is to “be the change you want to see in the world”. A moment that still gives me goosebumps was watching the Paralympics in Sydney when I was fortunate to take a group of students to be medal presenters. The grit, determination and ability of these athletes was so inspiring. Whenever things get tough, I think of them. They did not let their challenges get in the way of achieving great things.

Angela, we’d love to get to know a little bit more about your life beyond the classroom. Go on, give us a few quirky stories.

Angela: Here are just some random facts about me...I am very punctual; the one and only time I was late for something was my birth. And speaking of my birth, I was born with three ears (the kids always think that's pretty fascinating). My favourite foods are popcorn and mangos, I enjoy playing the ukulele, I love going to the dentist, I am a regular yoga practitioner and I wish I was better at meditating.

Watch Angela's welcome video to new parents.

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