On 13th July 2018, I was privileged to be invited to my student Natasha Tang’s maiden art exhibition at National Museum of Singapore. Her art pieces were displayed as part of HiArt’s Art Exhibition 2018.
The exhibition titled “Singapore – The Ethnic City” focused on the integral aspects of Singapore and it featured art pieces created through the perspectives of children who came from all walks of life.
Natasha, currently in Primary 4, joined DAS since she was in Primary 1. Once a quiet and reserved child, Natasha refused to speak when she first joined DAS. She was reluctant to try for fear of failing and was deterred by any new activity which required her to step out of her comfort zone.
Over time, I learnt that Natasha is a kinesthetic learner and she learns the fastest through physical activities. Activities such as phonics board games boosted her phonemic awareness and the incorporation of puppet play during comprehension not only enhanced her understanding ability but it also increased the interaction between her and her peers.
Together with the relentless encouragement of her classmates at DAS, her ability to read and spell soared. Spelling which was once deemed as an insurmountable task for her is now her strength and she will render assistance to her classmates who need help in dictation in her primary school class. She reciprocates the care which her classmates have showered upon her through her gestures. Many a time, she will remove her jacket without hesitation and lend it to her friends who are feeling cold and she will quietly punch the holes in the worksheets for them. In fact, she has learnt to prioritise the needs of others before hers.
Her talent in the arts emerged when she started drawing her classmates and me and dedicated the various art pieces to us. Upon completion of the given task in class, she would look at us intently and sketch us out in a mere minute or less. Back at home, she would illustrate her work and substantiate it with a piece of writing.
Her drawings demonstrated the unspoken appreciation for the people who have helped her become a better person. Having observed her talent, her parents enrolled her into art classes and Natasha honed her skills for the arts. She also created sculptures using wires. In a short span of time, Natasha achieved her very first milestone when she presented her art pieces for this art exhibition.
EVERY CHILD IS GIFTED!
Natasha’s achievement has come to teach us a very crucial lesson. Each child is gifted with his/her own talent and the grooming of their unique abilities should begin in our homes and classrooms. As parents and educators, our role is to focus on developing each child’s strengths and have them to appreciate their strengths.
More importantly, we need to allow them to learn at their own pace. Like flowers which take different times to bloom, our responsibility is to nurture these precious young seedlings with the best care and I believe there will be a day which they will blossom to their most glorious form and take us by surprise.
This story was published in FACETS Vol 2 2018
By Seow Li Ang, Educational Therapist, Bishan Learning Centre