Monday, March 30, 2009

Tiny Kindergarten Chairs


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This is a very old photo of my Koo Poh (Madam Tiong Yuk Ging) teaching her kindergarten class in the old Methodist Kindergarten Building in Island Road. The building is long gone and my grand aunt passed away in 1997 after serving God for a long long time.

The chairs if you notice lasted a long time. I remember sitting on them when I was
5. By the time my eldest and second daughters went to this kindergarten they too sat on these actual chairs. And after many years when I returned to visit the school and kindergarten they were still there!! The carpenter who made them must have been very very good. I am wondering where these chairs are now. Are they still in the best of conditions?

The kindergarten children learned to carry their chairs quietly to the front so that they could have a very close session with their teacher (Goo Poh) and they learn their singing and listening and speaking. Then they would carry their chairs back to their tables where they would carry out their own individual work or group work. They would share the colour pencils put in the middle of the table or take out their own colours in colour their masterpieces.

I still remember the children going to the toilets and they would pretend that they were butterflies winging to the wash rooms. Boys would be in one team and the girls in another. Every one would be smiling and the teachers-in-charge beaming away.

Later they would enjoy the lovely biscuits which they would dip into their plastic cups of milo. They would so systematically return the empty cups to the rack!! Happy that they had a share in the magnificient tiffin!!

Sometimes the teachers would have the towels ready to mop any spills or dry any tearful child.

And then the beautiful angels would be singing their kindergarten songs to the accompaniment of the organ music played by a teacher like Madam Tiong Ai Lan also a grand aunt of mine.

Both these Goo Poh taught "two generations" or may be even a third generation of kindergarten children from 1950's until 1980's!! They were never transferred any where else. such was the stability of the teaching profession then. And salaries were a meagre $200.00 (They probably started with 60 or even less)

The chairs always remind me of the First Carpenter. Love of your craft must bring about long lasting work!! Today most chairs which we can buy from furniture shop last only a few months. What a pity we do not have our olden days carpenters.

Take another look at the photo.... - two boys and one girl were obviously not listening to the teacher!! They prefer talking to their own friends.

"All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten". (A very thought provoking book by Robert Fulghum)

8 memories:

Unknown said...

It is always nice to think back on those days when we were young and happy with our kindergarten teachers.
They will always be in our hearts. I had one good kindergarten teacher and she is always what I call "teacher". Very old fashion but very good. Never pinched me and my friends. Never hit me also.

I Am Sarawakiana said...

Thanks for writing. I did not go to Kindergarten myself as I moved to Sibu from Pulau Kerto only when I was six and ready for Primary One.
But I visited my Goo Poh's classes quite often as we had to come over for my mum's visits to doctors etc.
So I can still remember those few visits. But I can still remember my own first day in school!!
I do remember all my teachers well and so many of them taught well too. May be it is because of them I have good memories .

Just a Little Kindness said...

These chairs are cute. In Southern China the kids used wooden stools. Even adults sit on low wooden stools.

But I really think this system of carrying chairs in kindergarten is good and educational.

bliss said...

In West Malaysia some kindergartens are very well managed. But I think the ones in Ipoh are just like the ones in Miri. The Chinese ones are just oo crowded and just like Standard One. So no difference if you are kindy one or Standard one. Teachersw are equally fierce !! They can slap you upside down.

I Am Sarawakiana said...

I have not been to southern China but I am sure the Chinese government must have a great system of kindergarten. I remember reading about their program of keeping all children in one camp and letting their mothers out to work. So mums and kids saw each other only at certain times. In this way the mums concentrated on their production work! And the kids learned well under the care of their nursery teachers!!

I Am Sarawakiana said...

Actually I agree with you. If kindergartens teach kids like Standard One then they should not be called kindergarten.

Kindies are just so special and sacred even if managed properly.

Mumble jumble said...

Is hat auntie sing in the second row 2nd, seated 2nd from the right facing Goo Poh?

I Am Sarawakiana said...

No I don't think so.This is an older photo.


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