Participants in a role play activity during the workshop on March 20.Participants in a role play activity during the workshop on March 20.
How can preschool educators turn positive social behaviour into a habit for their pupils? How can primary and secondary teachers support the character development of their students?

This was the focus of a series of workshops for educators of Catholic schools and preschools, conducted by Dr Margaret Carter and organised by the Archdiocesan Commission for Catholic Schools (ACCS).

Dr Carter is a senior lecturer in Education at James Cook University, Australia, and a behaviour-change specialist currently based in Queensland.

The first workshop, which took place on March 20 in the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre, was conducted for 53 educators and staff of Marymount Kindergarten and Good Shepherd Convent Kindergarten.

The second workshop was open to all the educators of Catholic preschools. With 51 participants, it followed the same structure as the one on the previous day.

During both workshops, Dr Carter stressed that when teaching values to preschool children, being a role model and having consistency is paramount and adults must be on guard lest they themselves be caught using unkind language towards the children.

In the second half of the workshops, participants were encouraged to examine their own preschool’s routines through role plays and, once a problem was identified, came up with solutions by pooling together ideas and wisdom with their peers.

Ms Margaret Spruyt, a teacher from Good Shepherd Convent Kindergarten said she learnt that “it is very important to use the right language [or words] to speak to young children as it may help to enhance the child’s self-esteem or destroy the child’s confidence”.

For the first time, ACCS also invited primary and secondary school educators to Dr Carter’s workshops in two sessions held on March 24 and 25.  Twenty-two primary and 13 secondary school teachers attended these workshops. A group photo after the session on March 21, conducted by Dr Margaret Carter (centre, in blue).A group photo after the session on March 21, conducted by Dr Margaret Carter (centre, in blue).
Br Dominic Chong, chaplain and brother in residence of SJI Junior, shared that he learnt from the workshop that “we, as teachers, can only influence our pupils on value education to the extent that we are already practising those values; we should periodically check ourselves on how we see our pupils…as gifts entrusted by God or just as mere digits in the classroom.”

- By Stefania Hartley

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