Sunshine School with Laughter
When you walk through the reception in our Respite Care and Rehabilitation Centre in Pak Tin (Note: Sunshine School has now been relocated to our Community Service Centre at So Uk Estate), you can always hear the laughter and singing of children echoing in the hallway. Occasionally, you may be able to spot a line of kids, wearing beautiful vests, singing and queuing for the toilet. On the other side of the hallway, parents with similar excited feelings lean their heads and search for their precious ones in the line.
You may think you have entered a kindergarten rather than a CCF centre.
It is true that here is the CCF Respite Care and Rehabilitation Centre, but it also turns into a small scale kindergarten, named ‘Sunshine School’, as a learning centre for our Sunshine Kids (child cancer survivors).
To most parents, ‘study’ is a concern and the most worrying issue for kids after ‘health’. That’s why children in treatment - no matter in hospital or at home - would normally join the hospital school or home study programme organised by the Red Cross to catch up with their learning schedule.
However, only children aged above five years and eight months old or at least in primary one can benefit from the programme. For the pre-school stage patients, parents could only do their best: some do nothing and leave their kids at home; some purchase DVDs and books for home teaching.
To apply for kindergarten in local community is something patients’ parents worry about, as before the age of six, a child’s immune system has not fully developed. Children may easily get sick via body contact in public places, especially in school, and this is an even bigger worry for our Sunshine Kids who are still undergoing treatment or in recovery.
To fill this service gap, CCF started a ‘transitional pre-school project’ for those patients aged under six by the end of 2012. With help from Heep Hong Society, we officially launched the Sunshine School in March 2013 to provide a half-day transitional pre-school education programme to nine patients who were still receiving treatment (but already discharged from hospital) or in the recovery stage.
The project aims to provide an opportunity for pre-school learning for patients through the establishment of Sunshine School and let them get prepared physically and mentally for kindergarten. We also aim to let their parents know more about their children’s learning abilities and needs.
The school opened from 10 am to noon every Wednesday to Friday at our centre. It comprised of 30 classes in total, taught by professional early childhood education teachers. The classes included special learning topics, reading, handicraft making, drawing, games, training of muscle groups, social skills and self-care training. Teachers explained the learning process to the parents individually after each class and suggested follow up issues and skills. We also held activities for parents each week, e.g. cooking, handicrafts making, parental skill talk, relaxing and stretching exercises to strengthen their inner-support, release pressure and increase relevant knowledge.
CCF Newsletter Vol.43 (Jun 2013)