President Halimah Yacob ties a finishing knot to complete a recycled tote bag together with two children
from My First Skool at Blk 208 Choa Chu Kang Central, during a visit to the preschool on 22 September 2022.

42 children raised $3,500 for 82 benefitting agencies through converting old clothes into tote bags.

Over the past eight months, 42 Nursery to K2 children from My First Skool (MFS) at Blk 208 Choa Chu Kang Central converted and upcycled more than 80 pieces of old clothing into reusable tote bags for a good cause.

As part of the 2022 ‘Start Small Dream Big’ (SSDB) initiative’s theme of ‘Our Family, Our Community’, the preschool took on an upcycling project titled ‘Eco Heroes’. The main objectives were to instil good values such as empathy and social responsibility in children, as well as empower them to adopt and champion sustainable practices like the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) in their daily lives. In addition, the children learnt the core family values of love, care and concern, commitment and respect, through the materials in Families for Life’s ‘Family and Me’ Preschool Packages.

Guided by the “I Can Create Sustainability” programme, the children learnt how to live sustainably alongside their families and the community through upcycling unwanted materials, reducing food and plastic waste, as well as practising water rationing and energy conservation at home. In addition, they raised $3,500 for 82 benefitting agencies under the President’s Challenge this year through selling tote bags upcycled from old clothing brought in by their families and friends.

This is the seventh year that the preschool took part in the SSDB initiative run by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). First launched in 2015, SSDB is an annual movement to encourage preschools to create platforms for children to innovate, problem-solve and tap on their unique strengths to help others.

“Children’s growth and development are influenced by their social environment and role models in their lives. Practising sustainability together with their families and communities allows children to construct an eco-conscious mindset, laying the foundation to raise environmentally-responsible citizens for the future generations,” said Zoe Chan, Principal of MFS at Blk 208 Choa Chu Kang Central.

Zoe presented a cheque of the funds raised to President Halimah Yacob, who visited the preschool on 22 September as Guest of Honour.

“We want our children to embrace the family values of love, care and concern, commitment, and respect. These values lay a strong foundation for them to appreciate the importance of family, and to build a caring and inclusive community. I am heartened that the children and their families adopted sustainable practices through the ‘Eco Heroes’ project, and at the same time raised funds for the President’s Challenge to help the community. I hope to see more of such initiatives in the future,” President Halimah Yacob said.

Tobias Yeo from the K2 class and his family have always brought their own bags and avoided the use of plastic bags for their weekly grocery trips. On one occasion, Tobias witnessed a customer packing groceries in many plastic bags. Feeling puzzled about what he saw, Tobias asked his father how to encourage people to use less plastic bags for their grocery trips. This discussion was extended when he returned to the preschool, with his teachers and friends - who then came up with the idea of creating tote bags to encourage more shoppers to bring their own bags for grocery runs.

Tobias’ father also suggested using unwanted shirts to create the tote bags, breathing new life into old clothes through upcycling. Together as a family, they have collected and contributed 26 pieces of old clothing for this initiative.

“When we create awareness on sustainability and model sustainable practices for our children, they will continue to carry on these good practices for life. One step at a time, we can make a difference to protect our earth,” said Norman Yeo, Tobias’ father.

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