The Straits Times says

Rooting schools in the community

The phenomenon of schools on the move would appear to militate against the idea that schools and other institutions of learning are meant to give children and the young a wide social perspective and root them in the surrounds and community where they are located. Although Singapore is a small city-state, it is differentiated spatially among neighbourhoods. Whether by accident or choice, schools have ended up sited in neighbourhoods that are stylishly developed or old and settled, or newly built, up and coming and bustling. For many, their cohorts comprised a healthy mix of students from a combination of any of these locations and neighbourhoods. And over time, their students developed a sense of the place, absorbing the sights, smells and sounds, and moving around their favourite malls and eating places.

But in land-scarce Singapore, uprooting and having to move is not unexpected. Regardless of where schools are sited, or re-sited, keeping the outlook healthy and the field level for all those who pass through their gates requires that educators make their students view and embrace their varied neighbourhoods as extensions of their school space, not an unwanted encirclement of it. In new surroundings are new beginnings and places to explore, and people to engage with.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2019, with the headline 'Rooting schools in the community'. Print Edition | Subscribe