On the 9th of August every year, the nation decks out in the iconic colours of red and white. Of course, it is none other than National Day, which marks the historic day Singapore gained her independence from Malaysia. While most Singaporeans are aware of the day’s significance, children might not always be as informed. This raises the question- how can educators make a difference by communicating why we commemorate this special day? To effectively do so, teachers can consider doing the following:
1. EXPLAIN OUR INDEPENDENCE FROM MALAYSIA IN 1965
When this distressing piece of news broke in 1965, it was an earth-shattering moment for many Singaporean citizens and political leaders alike. It signalled a new beginning in the nation’s development as we officially became a sovereign state for the first time. Under the leadership of former President Yusof bin Ishak and former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore overcame a multitude of security and economic-related challenges, and was thus led to greater heights. As a small country with limited natural resources, the nation found ways not just to survive, but also to thrive.
Without a doubt, the fateful separation from Malaysia laid the groundwork for Singapore’s rise to a powerful economy, and how it continues to be one of the fastest growing countries in the world today. Children who are informed of this will gain a clearer understanding of why National Day is celebrated.
2. NATIONAL DAY ACTIVITIES
What better way to engage children than immerse them in the fun-filled events planned for this day of celebration? As many of us know, the build-up to each National Day is a grand affair- think buildings adorned with flags, patriotic songs blasting on the radio and of course, the magnificent National Day Parade (NDP).
As tickets to the NDP are notoriously difficult to obtain, children can instead opt to watch the parade in the comfort of their home or at various locations islandwide. It will be broadcast live on the day itself, complete with a phenomenal view of dazzling fireworks and stunning aerial displays by the Republic of Singapore Airforce. With so many outstanding elements, children are in for a visual treat that is bound to educate and excite!
This year, we commemorate Singapore’s bicentennial, which marks 200 years since Sir Stamford Raffles’s arrival in 1819. As such, teachers can choose to briefly explain his career and contributions to modern Singapore. Next, they can consider explaining the colours and symbols of the Singapore flag, as they represent vital ideals and values of the nation. This resource can be printed for children to colour and label what different parts of the flag mean. Finally, educators can expose children to past and present NDP theme songs. These rousing tunes are guaranteed to inspire feelings of pride in young ones and cultivate a stronger sense of unity.
3. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Aside from being a day to acknowledge and be proud of Singapore’s various achievements, we should also strive to spend some time with the community to do something special. After all, National Day is about people coming together to celebrate how far the nation has come and more importantly, the contributions of every citizen here. Fittingly, this year’s theme is none other than “Our Singapore”, which aims to remember the hard work of earlier generations.
One way to go about involving the community is to organise sing-along sessions with the residents at nearby Community Centres. Songs should include classic NDP tunes such as “Singapura, Sunny Island”, “Stand Up for Singapore”, and “Home”. Educators can also consider taking their students on a stroll around the neighbourhood with placards, such that they can approach residents to ask about their hopes for the nation, and pen them down accordingly. By interacting with the community, children will gain better insight as to how every citizen has a role to play in shaping the nation. It might also inspire them to be more involved in the local community!
All in all, teachers should aim to heighten their students’ curiosity about National Day before immersing them in fun and engaging activities. Explaining the context of this day is particularly essential as children will be able to better appreciate the hands-on aspects such as the NDP and community involvement programmes. Click here for a free printable sheet of National Day fun facts!
At School of Concepts, we conduct monthly thematic workshops across Singapore that bring unique activities to children. The workshops can come in the form of art classes or culinary lessons, just to name a few. As seats sell out fast, keep an eye out for them by following our social media for updates!