Reflecting upon the Semester...

May 04, 2017

Time flies when we are having fun, and the last session of the semester was coming to an end before we knew it. As much as we were drained of our energy after an hour and a half long session, we took a little time to look back on the session and the semester. So let’s take a look at what our volunteers have to say:

The best takeaway from each session has always been the smiles on the faces of our children and it was of no exception today. It is heart-warming that both volunteers and children go home with hearts fully filled after a night of fun and learning. I myself enjoyed every single bit of this last session where we had a movie night, played games and sang our usual songs. Some songs just don't get old and will always be pleasing to the ears no matter how out of tune it may get. I hope our children will always be happy, as they were last Friday night.
- Yi Lin

It has been a really fruitful semester with my little dash-es. The semester ended off on a good note as the last session was a little special. To spice up this semester, we ended it off with a short movie clip! There were times when it was really tough and challenging for me, especially the first few days in the 3-4 years old class. it has been a really long time since i took that age group and i had kind of lost touch and connection. However, i managed to overcome it as i got closer and spent more time together with the children!  Although sometimes it could be very tiring, i would always try my best to ensure that the children have a great time. They have never failed to make me smile every session and i have never regretted spending my friday nights with them. These little ones never fail to brighten up my nights and im really thankful for that!
- Syiqa

Semester this time round took a different take on the themes of sessions. Movies which are familiar to the children being made into the themes for each respective session has made things more enjoyable as we venture into different genres of books as well as activities. The children were very excited, as always, throughout sessions and it surely has been an enjoyable semester. Can't wait for the next semester to come! For now, happy holidays everybody!
- Hayati

Reading is truly a gift, and as a volunteer I've felt like I am truly giving it to the children in our community. While an hour of reading, song, and activities once a week might seem small and insignificant, the smile it brings to the children's' faces is not. Watching them laugh and dance around in joy is a reminder of how the small things matter; simple things like reading and playing with the young ones can fill them with boundless happiness. I've learnt what it means to truly serve the community, finding problems that need addressing and thereafter working to address them. Every step of the process, from conception to execution, has taught me something new. Planning, empathy and communication are all skills I've picked up serving with a team of dedicated and experienced volunteers. Gift has made me a more patient and caring person than I was before, better equipped to take care of our community. To all our children: Keep reading, keep playing, and keep smiling!
- Ying Zhi

I've been in Gift since 2011, and the reason that keeps me coming back to sessions week after week is the joy and laughter that the children bring me. Making crafts with the children, reading to them and simply playing with them makes me very happy. Even on bad days, children never fail to make me smile and make my day better. There is this child in particular, Julia, who never fails to bring me joy. I look forward to seeing her every Saturday. Generally, I feel that sessions this semester were sometimes rather rushed in terms of preparation due to the busy schedules of our volunteers, but I think we did a very good job at adapting and being flexible in our session plan.
- Ching Yee

The semester has been a tiring but fruitful one. I have seen the children grown from being shy and quiet, to being loud and actively participating in sessions. While there are a few children who are still not as outspoken, they are always listening attentively to the teachers’ instructions, which is something that I am heartened to see. I always look forward to every Saturday, as every session allows me to learn more about each child, and what I can do to help each child grow. Although there are times where the volunteers could have been better prepared for the sessions, I feel like the children have still enjoyed themselves, which is what matters the most.
- Annie

Gift of Reading (GOR) gave me the chance to be a small part of children's lives and seeing them smiling away as the session ends makes me feel very fulfilled, knowing that I spent the few hours with them well and hopefully made little differences in their childhood. Whenever they call my name, I feel grateful to be reminded to always find joy in the simplest things.
- Momo

The few times i visited this semester was full of fun and made me miss coming down regularly to volunteer. Unfortunately, due to my busy school schedule, I was unable to come down every week. But the few visits I made were enough for me to see how much the children enjoyed each session! The different theme of movies adopted through the week made it exciting and full of surprise! Also seeing my fellow volunteers enjoy the sessions alongside the children was a great experience and made me promise myself to be back more often the next semester!
- Lijah

I wasnt able to attend all 10 sessions this time round because of school, but for the few sessions that i attended was really engaging and enjoyable! I personally enjoyed the session when we did on 'Up'. We did finger painting using cotton balls and the activity was enjoyable as it was something new that we've never done before! It was engaging as well as the children were all actively participating in the activity.
- Syahidah

I personally felt like the last semester was my favourite semester because we had alot of new activities which the children found very fun to do and also our planning was alot more organised and preparations for sessions were not as last minute as previous sessions.i also felt like everyone in my group really worked well together which made sessions easier because we were able to communicate more efficiently.
- Thivya

To put it simply, Gift has kept me grounded for the past semester, and where I know I can come home to. Despite my low commitment due to school, I found the few sessions that I attended helpful in reminding me of who I am and where I belong.

Session has been very nostalgic for me. Being with the volunteers and the children make me feel young all over again and I really enjoy myself every week. What I have enjoyed most is really watching how sessions have developed over time, especially activity wise. I feel that we have incorporated more creativity into our craft activities with the children, and our craft activities are in line with our theme and also catered for all our age groups.

We should definitely do more dramatization with the children, something we have neglected due to our lack of time to prepare. However, there are solutions to this. We could put in more effort to incorporate the children into our dramatization, and getting them to be part of our story instead of forcing and stressing ourselves to rehearse and come up with a story beforehand. Of course that would be ideal, but we sometimes forget that storytelling isn’t perfect, and the beauty of it really lies in our ability to make characters come alive for our children, With a bit of team spirit, imagination and help from our children, we can definitely make storytelling come alive again;)
- Natasha

That sums up our first semester of the year, and we are looking forward to the next already! Stay tune to this blog for more updates, and as always, do check out our gallery for more session pictures! :")

Yours Sincerely, 
Gift of Reading Team


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