Children from Catholic Kindergarten playing the ‘parachute’ game with residents of the Miriam Home for the Aged.Children from Catholic Kindergarten sang, danced and played games with elderly residents of a home in Kluang, Malaysia, during a school mission trip.

The members of the Miriam Home for the Aged beamed as the six-year-olds put on a kung fu dance, showing off high kicks and punches, and sang Rasa Sayang, If You’re Happy and You Know It and other songs.

Prior to the singing, the 33 children helped the residents make “shakers” from recycled vitagen containers, green beans and wrapped with coloured paper.

The elderly folks then shook these containers to the rhythm of the songs

Thirty-one parents and 16 school staff accompanied the children during their visit to the home, run by the Canossian Sisters.

The aim of the trip, organised on Sept 3,was to inculcate a sense of empathy in the children towards the elderly and needy, said Ms Edna Ng, principal of the kindergarten at Flower Road.

One game the children played with the residents was the “parachute” game.

The youngsters helped wheel the elderly folks into the hall and arranged them in a circle. Everyone then took hold of the edges of a huge, colourful piece of cloth, which had a hole in the middle, and lifted it to knee height.

A few plastic balls were then placed onto this cloth and at the word “go”, both young and elderly players began shaking the cloth so as to prevent the balls from falling through the hole.

The game was to help with eye-hand coordination as well as bonding.

The children apparently enjoyed the interaction as much as their eldery counterparts.

“I was happy because they were happy!” six-year-old Jon Tan commented later.

Zechariah Tan, (not related to Jon) said he now wants to “save money to help the poor”.

One parent, Mrs Clare Leong, commented, “Although the elderly were in wheelchairs, I saw joy and happiness in their eyes while the children sang and danced.”

Another parent, Mrs Samancre Tan, said, “Through this trip, the children learnt to touch the lives of the elderly and needy … It had been an enriching and memorable experience for all.”