Forging Bonds, An Experience for Students by Students

Forging Bonds, An Experience for Students by Students

April 21, 2024

Fostering and embracing a culture of care and positivity lies at the heart of student life here at School of Science and Technology, Singapore (SST).  At the onset of a Secondary 1 (S1) cohort’s educational journey with us, we kick things off with our vibrant Orientation programme, a pivotal moment in cultivating the Positive Education environment we cherish. It’s where the magic begins, igniting a sense of belonging and support for our newest SST community members. Organised and led by students for students, this programme not only promotes camaraderie, it also empowers our student leaders to lead, serve and be positive role models for their juniors. Our SST Alumni also forms a strong backbone to the success of Orientation with their presence and experience to guide the Student Leaders in the planning and execution stage. This provides a critical platform for our student leaders to exemplify the values that define SST.

As the Secondary One Head of Year, I’m privileged to work alongside our dedicated Student Leadership teachers, Form Teachers, and student leaders, shaping activities that seamlessly blend learning and transition for our S1 students. Together, we ensure that every aspect of orientation reflects our commitment to nurturing a positive culture in SST.

Orientation for New Students

Orientation isn’t just about getting acquainted with our school – through setting routines and expectations together with their Form Teachers, the S1 students feel that their anxieties and fears ease during the first 2 weeks secondary school life.  In addition, Peer Support Leaders assigned to S1 classes, guide the students and integrate them into the SST culture through various activities.

The Orientation Programme culminates in a meaningful Badge Ceremony, where the S1 students are presented with their badges by their Form Teachers, marking the formal induction of S1 students into the SST community.  In addition, the students share their reflections on their learning experiences during the orientation programme with their parents. These symbolise the beginning of their journey towards embracing our positive culture, one where every student feels supported by the SST community and their parents, empowered, and ready to thrive in SST.

Fostering Connections: Students bond with their classmates, peers and teachers during the many engaging and interactive games.

Building Positive Relationships

During orientation, students are given opportunities to connect with their peers, teachers, and other school staff. This is through participating in games that are designed to foster class unity and deepen understanding of the SST culture. Building positive relationships at the beginning of the school year cultivates a sense of belonging and community, which are important aspects of positive education. Additionally, there is also a mid-year check-in with the S1 classes by the Peer Support Board leaders to gauge the transition experience of these students. This conveys the availability of support, if required and the ongoing commitment of the student leaders to the well-being of the S1 cohort.

Engaging in Dialogue: S1 students reflecting on their 'Personal Best Experiences'

Establishing Clear Expectations

The Orientation Programmes encompass discussions on school expectations, rules, and the introduction of the 4Rs (Respect, Responsibility, Relationship and Reflection), habits which we would like to see our students internalise. By clearly communicating these guidelines upfront, students gain a clear understanding of what is expected of them and how to navigate their new school environment effectively. This guidance is provided by the Form Teachers and senior members of the SST student community. Furthermore, expectations are reinforced during the talk introducing the ‘SST Code of Conduct’, led by the Subject Head of Student Management.

Addressing Social and Emotional Needs

As the S1 students transition to secondary school, it can be an emotionally challenging phase of life. To support them, we organise ‘Transition’ talks, presented by our School Counsellor, focusing on assisting students in making friends during the transition period.

Introducing Available Resources

Orientation also serves as a platform to acquaint students with the various resources available within the school community. These include counselling services, co-curricular activities, and academic support programmes. Equipping students with knowledge about these resources empowers them to seek help when needed, thereby enhancing their overall well-being and academic performance.

In summary, the S1 Orientation Programme at SST plays a pivotal role in promoting positive education.  It achieves this by creating a supportive environment, building relationships, setting clear expectations, facilitating personal growth, addressing social and emotional needs, introducing resources at hand, and fostering a positive SST culture. I am thankful for being able to start the journey with the S1s and help them ease into the transition of Secondary school life. These elements are essential for nurturing our S1 students' holistic development and academic excellence as they embark on their secondary school journey in SST.

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