The school name Qihua Primary School is the Hanyu Pinyin name of Kay Wah School, founded in 1938 by a group of forward looking pioneers led by Mr Neo Tiew, a philanthropist and resistance fighter and Village Head of Ama Keng village. In Chinese, Qihua means ‘rousing the learning spirit’ (启化). The school then expanded from the Main school to Branches I and II, to accommodate the quest for learning of the residents in that area.
In 1980 the school adopted English as its medium of instruction and shifted to Woodlands, near Woodlands MRT station. The responsibility of headship is currently under our 9th principal Mrs Lee Hui Feng who joined the school in January 2017.
The school strives to provide an all-round education to our pupils, guided by its values and providing opportunities for every child to excel in his or her pursuits. To actualise its vision, it seeks to build a learning community that actively engages in experimenting creative pedagogies on the whole spectrum of domains to achieve school excellence. Pupils will also imbibe the school values and be involved in life-long volunteerism.
The school is headed and run by a principal, 2 vice-principals, 16 middle managers, 5 senior teachers, 68 teachers, 3 full-time adjunct teachers, 6 allied educators (T&L), 2 allied educators (FTSC), 1 allied educator (LBS) and 12 executive and administrative staff.
School Programmes & Initiatives
The school actualises its vision of building confident and responsible students committed to excellence with the spirit to serve, through holistic development of students, leveraging on TLLM approaches and curriculum innovations amidst a values-based digital environment to enable every child’s uniqueness to be nurtured.
1. TLLM Initiatives
In the cognitive domain, the school is guided by its E3 Teaching and Learning Framework to Engage, Enrich and Enable the different groups of pupils for meaningful acquisition of skills and knowledge. Specific programmes are drawn up to cater to the different abilities and needs of its pupils, keeping in mind the joyful aspect of learning.
Engage programmes are curriculum innovations that cater to all pupils. They include English ELITE (Open-Up and RISE); EL Reading programme; Scientist@Work; Try Science; Inter-disciplinary Project Work; NE/SS Learning Journeys; and Maths Mastery (SSM, PRISM and HA). These are drawn up to reinforce skills and to provide a variety of joyful learning platforms for its pupils.
Enrich programmes cater to the high progress pupils. These include Science Fair; Accelerated Science Programme (ASP); Maths APEX (Infusion Thinking Maths, Breakthrough Maths, Cognitive Accelerated Maths – CAMP, ACE Maths & TEMO); English APEX (Literature Appreciation for EL, Show & Tell, English for Critical Thinking); Creative Writers and Literature for Chinese Language; and ‘Share-a-story and ‘Young Reporter’ for Malay and Tamil Languages.
Enable programmes are academic support programmes and these include Learning Support for English & Maths for Lower primary pupils, Play@Science; Science Bridging Programme; Self-directed Maths; Mathletes; and focused group learning. These are introduced to provide additional academic support for all pupils and in particular the low progress pupils.
The school adopts Blended Learning as a school-wide pedagogical approach to classroom delivery that will require teachers to plan level lessons blending the 3 aspects: cognitive, constructivist and e-tools for effective teaching and learning. The school has made provisions to support the staff and pupils in adopting this pupil-centric approach in the classroom.
In 2008, the school prototyped an English oral reading programme known as OPEN-UP or Oral Practice Enhancements to improve English oral reading fluency and clarity for pupils of varied language ability. This approach leverages on the Blended Learning approach which is to use ICT for recording, online storage and playback, self-assessment and peer assessment. This approach is instrumental in helping pupils do better in the oral component of the PSLE English.
In 2009, it prototyped Holistic Assessment (HA) using a range of assessment modes, like bite-sized forms, questioning techniques, etc, for richer feedback on learning. HA is more holistic in nature as parents are given feedback on the children’s social emotional learning (SEL) competencies besides academic performance. The school shared its learning at MOE- HA sharing in 2011 and MOE ExcelFest in 2012.
2. School-based Curriculum Innovations
To enable every pupil to find joy in learning and to build the 21st century skills and competencies, the school, guided by its Year Theme, leverages on curriculum innovations for cognitive development and for sports and aesthetics excellence; and other community-based holistic learning opportunities. Here are the six key innovations:
I. Innovation and Excellence Programme
To engender an innovation excellence culture, the school, since 2009 initiated the Innovation and Excellence Programme for all levels to expose pupils to inventive thinking, problem solving and analytical skills. It was accorded niche status by MOE in 2013 and has since been approved as an ALP (Applied Learning Programme). The school works closely with Spring Singapore and MSF to provide platforms and opportunities for our pupils to showcase their innovations. The school holds an annual ‘InnoJoy Fest’ to share staff and pupils’ fledgling creations to the public.
II. Inter-disciplinary Project Work (IPW)
Since 2007, the school has integrated this student-centric programme into the curriculum for P3-P5 pupils. As pupils are expected to work individually and in teams IPW has contributed to building pupils to be self-directed learners and effective collaborative learners. To ensure high standards are maintained, students are taught explicitly inquiry-based skills, science process skills and ICT skills for effective transference of learning. Each team project is assessed based on the IPW rubrics that involve self, peer and teacher assessment. Pupils are expected to submit written projects and make oral presentations.
III. S.Q.U.A.T. Programme
The provision of joyful and innovative approaches to learning is a school policy. SQUAT programme, which stands for Smile, Question, Understand, Alert & Tune-in is a joyful centric learning experience was designed to enhance TSR, in alignment with SEAIP. The skills and competencies embedded in the SQUAT Porgramme like Smile, Question, Understand, Alert & Tune-in lead to a fundamental mindset change in the way teachers engage their charges. The varieties of group settings provide opportunities for teachers to connect with the students, to strengthen trust and respect. As students interact with each other through teamwork and friendship, they build skills in SEL.
IV. Globalisation Programme
The school’s Globalisation Programme is unique in its immersion segment to nurture in students global awareness, cross-cultural skills as well as language skills. Besides the overseas and local foreign school experiences, the students are also exposed to foreign cultures through the school’s video conferencing programmes. These exposure opportunities help to hone students’ communication skills, SEL competencies, imbibe the positive learning culture and mores of foreign cultures. Students share their learning through different platforms such as at School Assemblies and on the school blogs. Students on overseas learning journey were expected to perform and bring a piece of Singapore to their foreign friends. In this way, our students become the nation’s ambassadors. Teachers also have to share their learning.
V. Qian Ju Wen
‘Qian Ju Wen’ was introduced to further strengthen the school’s strength in Chinese Language. The content and pedagogy of QJW is built into the school syllabus with the aim to raise the level of CL learning to a higher level starting from P1. Students are taught to ‘recognise words first and write later’ and are exposed to 2 and 4 word phrases at a young age. This concept is integrated with the current spiral and all skills exposure concept of language learning. This is in its 6th year of implementation and its pedagogy is in alignment with building students 21C skills. Opportunities for critical thinking and confidence in speech-making are the cornerstone of this pedagogy.
VI. Student-led Conferencing
To build the confident, responsible and self-directed learner, all P5 and 6 students are involved in the parent-student conferencing with the teacher as the facilitator and observer during the Parent-staff Interaction sessions. This platform provides opportunities for students to articulate and evaluate their performances to their teachers and parents; and for greater parental involvement in helping their charges actualise their aspirations.
3. Learner-centered Environment
The school works towards building a physical environment that provides incidental learning experiences for its pupils. These include ecological gardens, NE Gallery & Heritage Walk, heritage relics, learning corners, wall and floor murals. They are intended to provide students with self-directed learning opportunities, develop in them thinking abilities as they interact with the physical environment around them.
4. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Programme
The school’s ICT vision is MIRACLES: Moulding an IT empowered, Responsible and Active Community of LEarners. It has international collaborations with overseas schools through live-linked lessons and Knowledge Community. The ‘Improving Computer Literacy among Pupils’ Programme (ICLAP) focuses on teaching different ICT skills to pupils at different levels. Portable mobile stations, interactive white boards, i-pod touch, lap tops and ultra-mobile personal computers (UMPC) have certainly enriched the learning environment of our pupils. Computers in the library, Learning Corners and E-Xite room have provided pupils with self-directed learning opportunities. The school also has a robust Cyberwellness programme for the pupils, teachers and parents.
5. Modular PE, Art & Music (PAM) Programme
Since 2008 the school has introduced a modular arts programme in line with the school’s mission to provide a holistic and joyful education. Specific programmes are drawn up for P1 to P6 pupils. Students experience the use of different mediums, from pottery, batik drawing to printmaking. The modular Arts programme promotes creativity and develops in pupils a basic sense of proportion and colours. To give vent to creative expressions and to lay the foundation for future creative pursuits, lower primary pupils undergo gymnastics, the Qihuaian Hula hoop aerobics dance and a music and movement programme. Besides this, the school has a very successful music and drama club and stages Annual Musicals that have received rave reviews.
The modular PE programme (SEP) initiated in 2009, teaches pupils from P1 to P4 basic sports skills in table tennis, sepak takraw, basketball and floorball. This is intended to nurture sports talents for sports excellence and to cultivate an active and healthy lifestyle culture among our pupils through exposure to different sports and games. In addition, ‘Sporty Friday’, another initiative mooted by the staff, is a mass aerobics workout for all staff and pupils.
6. National Education
The school’s NE direction focuses on raising pupils’ awareness of Singapore’s history to a sense of belonging to the school, community and nation. Through an NE infused curriculum, pupils learn environmental matters affecting Singaporeans, our neighbours and the world at large. The school receives the Development Award for National Education.
The NE Gallery and Gallery Walk provides a treasure trove of memorabilia of past and current events with visual images and authentic materials to enable our children to look back at the nation’s past with pride as they embrace the future with confidence. It is also used as a resource library for Social Studies lessons.
7. Staff Development
The school is committed to empowering teachers to constantly hone their craft and seek all-round excellence. Since 2008, all teachers are actively involved in Action Research which is intended to develop teachers to be reflective practitioners as they seek to improve their teaching pedagogy. Since 2011, staff has been involved in school-wide Lesson Study and their researches are compiled annually for staff reference and learning to ensure transference of learning. The school also provides platforms such as PLC and Staff Development Day for staff for professional development. Since 2012, the school has shared its curriculum innovations at various platforms like the MOE ExCEL Fest, National Lesson Study Symposium and other events.
STRENGTHS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
The school’s teaching force is a team of young, energetic and passionate teachers who believe in going the extra mile to help our pupils learn. The Mean PSLE Aggregate for 4S pupils has shown marked improvements since 2010. The various programmes put in place to stretch the higher achievers have led to quality passes in CL, HCL, ML and HML being above national and MOE comparable schools results. Additional academic support given has also ensured that the quantity passes in EL, CL, ML, TL, HCL, HML and Science are meeting national averages and above MOE comparable schools results.
At the SYF Central Judging and Competitions, the school received the Gold, silver and bronze awards in the Chinese, Malay, Indian dances, in Chinese Orchestra, Brass Band and choir.
The school also received the SAA (Sports) 8th award in 2012 for its excellent performances in its niche sports, Sepak Takraw and Table Tennis. The school’s Sports Excellence Programme has enabled successes in zonal and national championships in key sports such as Sepak Takraw, Table Tennis, Basketball and Floorball while leveraging its platforms to instil sports values and good character.
The school received the Green Audit (Sustained Lotus) Award for our Environment Education Programme. Our staff and pupils are involved in VIA, in recycling, in charity and in promoting a green and clean environment. The school received the PD Award (2010-2013) for staff learning and professional development. For Character Development, the school received a Development Award for its integrated approach to the development of the whole child. The school also received a Gold Award for ‘Model School Tuckshop’ from the HPB and ‘Straight A’s School Canteen Programme Award’ from the NEA for excellence in cleanliness, healthy food choices and hygiene. Since 2010 it has received CHERISH (HPB-MOE) awards in promoting school-wide healthy living for staff and pupils and has adopted the programme of Healthy Eating in School (HESP by HPB).