For years, the Sports Day has been a major school event. While its values remain important, we were concerned about the growing limitations the old structure posed. As a result, we initiated the unprecedented change to a new approach that was greatly motivated by the need to provide our students with a more student-centric experience. This symbolised a revolutionary move away from the traditional ways of running Sports Day/Carnival.
Then on, Carnivals were designed with alignment to the school’s Strategic Thrust of “Nurturing Lakers to be Future Ready”, with the intent to provide every student, a unique “Laker Total School Experience” and promoting 21st Century Competencies (21st CC) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills.
In 2018, the first novel Carnival was conceived, with the theme of Active Learning, Active Play and Health Awareness, targeting maximum participation through maximised space and maximised concurrent movement. The carnival was anchored on objectives, from hard to soft skills; from psychomotor skills development, team building and health awareness, to instilling ownership and self-directed learning. Through different physical activities, students work together in teams to achieve these goals, gain ownership of learning and the sense of responsibility, perseverance and decision-making.
Active Lifestyle Carnival 2018
Drone views of Active Lifestyle Carnival 2018
In 2019, we continued with this intent, but we expanded to include a greater scope, and achieved a greater outreach with further increased participation. This meant involving all six levels of students, and designing a year-long series of programmes that culminate to the eventual Lakers’ Friendship Carnival in October 2019. With the theme of “A Celebration of Friendship through Fun & Games”, the refreshed Carnival provided opportunities for students to forge stronger bonds between juniors and seniors. New elements of Dance, Music and Art were added to the scope of activities, to encourage our students to develop a deeper appreciation for the arts. We also incorporated the House System which forms the basis of the Inter-House Challenge and points system. The contributing events to that include, Step Up Challenge (a whole school recess jogging challenge), NAPFA test, Station Activities and Inter-House Cheer Competition during Carnival Day.
Lakers Friendship Carnival 2019
Alternate Years Traditional Sports Day and Sports Carnival
Active Lifestyle Carnival
Lakers’ Friendship Carnival
Align to school values of LPRIDE.
The overall process of Conceptualisation, Development and Implementation of the idea, Active Lifestyle Carnival 2018, is undergirded by the Design Thinking Process, one of the key initiatives of our school to promote a culture of thinking. Within the core of this Design Thinking Process, we incorporated the Event Planning Model, and during this process of putting our vision into effect, we also took reference from Six Thinking Hats. Such methods serve to ensure the alignment of our Event’s Structure and Content with the Desired Outcomes.
Firm beliefs of a student-centred learning experience, consider the aspects of student population and learning objectives. Consider past event practices and objectives. Research on various Carnival event designs.
Identify key foci, problems and considerations of student activities. Firm up the Event Concept, Big Ideas, Themes and establish objectives. Determine Finance, Administrative and Communicative Processes, as well as Roles and Responsibilities.
In this segment, the Ideation and Prototyping technique we harnessed is “Six Thinking Hats”.
The team is engaged in negotiations and discussions to brainstorm, build and analyse every component from different perspectives under the Six Thinking Hats, for e.g. Negative: Scrutinise logically and cautiously, for problems, risk and weaknesses; Positive: to consider values, benefits and advantages. The items in plan include Activities Categories, Sequence of Events, Token Redemption System, Involvement of Partner Groups and other stakeholders, Venues, Logistics, Floor Plan and Layout, etc.
While the process is generally linear, in which one stage leads to the next logically, its components can happen in flexible, iterative and non-linear fashion. For e.g. Results from the testing phase may prompt redefinition of problems, which in turn may lead to another brainstorming session (Ideate) or the development of new Prototypes (drafts) or alterations and refinements to existing drafts.
The table below summarises the implementation challenges we faced and solutions we came out with.
|1||With a student population of about 1400, we need to utilise as many venues as possible in the school compound. However, there are some venues that are susceptible to weather conditions, such as the basketball court and school field.||Instead of leaving the basketball court and school field totally unutilised, we made use of the basketball court. However, we had contingency plans whereby alternative indoor activities could be quickly activated if it poured in the morning.|
|2||Not all P5s and P6s were mature and ready to lead a group each. They were off-task and distracted easily, resulting in their group members going astray in the midst of the carnival.||We conducted two Pre-assembly Values Education (PAVE) sessions for the students, reminding them not only of the expected behaviour during the carnival, we also reinforced the importance of P5 and P6 students playing a key role in leading and managing their group members during the activities and bringing them from place to place in an orderly fashion. Knowing that there would still be ‘lost sheep’ on the actual day despite the briefing, we dedicated a General Office staff to be stationed at the reception area to attend to students who were lost. The staff had the necessary documents that they could refer to, in order to direct the students to ‘reunite’ with their group members.|
|3||Students, especially from the lower primary, with special needs such as ADHD and autism could not work together in a group.||We deployed Allied Educators (AEDs) and school counsellors to guide these students in the activities. For students with milder special needs, they will be with their groups, but we made sure that these groups consist of group leaders who were very responsible and capable of managing the more challenging students.|
All in all, to observe our students being fully engaged, interacting with peers across levels, learning to de-conflict and work as a team, make collective decisions, demonstrate values such as perseverance, participating in a variety of activities; this rationalises our Change.
The Change (and Unchanged) being the constant reimagining and rethinking of our programmes and objectives.
For that reason, at Lakeside Primary, we believe in providing our students with opportunities to be curious, to explore and develop holistically in a vibrant learning environment.
Our students’ learning experiences matter.
Low Boon Siang and Lim Yu Su Ice
|Low Boon Siangfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Lim Yu Su Iceemail@example.com|
Bono, E. D. (1985). Six thinking hats. Little, Brown and Co, Boston, MA.
Dowson. R., & Bassett, D. (2015). Event planning and management: A practical handbook for PR and events professionals. Kogan Page: London.
Nielsen Norman Group (2020, October 20). Design thinking 101.
Plattner, H., Meinel, C., & Leifer, L. (2010). Design thinking: Understand – Improve – Apply. Springer Science & Business Media.