The Case for Happy School

Imagine a school where children play to learn. Where there are no boundaries on what children can and want to learn, where children can explore subjects of interest so they can maximise their potential, where every child can tailor make their own curriculum guided by teacher guides who do not force knowledge on children but rather encourage curiosity and learning through play? After all, can’t google provide us with all the knowledge and answers we may ever need? Can’t we have a Disneyland of schools?

After all, every one of us child or adult is different, have different interests and learn differently. So why should schools be a one size fits all? Why should schools have a regimental approach to learning? Why should child A learn the same curriculum that Child B learns? Isn’t there a genius in every one of us? Hasn’t our school system been stuck in time when technology has advanced far beyond our imagination?

Shouldn’t kids learn about how things work? Shouldnt kids use the latest digital tech platforms to aid their learning? Shouldnt kids be thought more than theoretical knowledge that can be easily found on Google? Shouldnt they learn at their own pace based on their own interests?

This is currently the life of an atypical Kid.

“Sam, let’s go to school, Mummy’s late for work!”
“Waaeee, Waeeee,” cried Little Sam. “No school, No school.” There was little mummy could do but prod Little Sam along. Mummy could not understand why Little Sam hated going to school, it was just all fun and play after all!
It was 7pm, and Mummy just arrived at the nursery to pick Little Sam, she had rushed from work to ensure
she was there before the school closes at 7pm. “Little Sam, how was your day? What did you do in school?” Boring….”
Replied Little Sam. Given the benefit of the doubt; there could have been more going on at school than just boredom, but perhaps Little Sam just could not articulate that; he was a little slow in his speech development, hence everything was ”boring”.

Life was tiring for Mummy who went to work early in the morning and would only pick Little Sam up after work. Afterwhich, it would be the usual takeaway dinner with Daddy and Little Sam at home doing homework and more homework… Weekends were no different. Being atypical parents, Mummy and Daddy only wanted the best for Little Sam. It was swimming, followed by piano lessons then tennis on Saturdays. Sundays were reserved for golf, Kumon classes and Chinese tuition. There was little quality family time with Little Sam and even less personal time for Daddy and Mummy. And poor Little Sam, he was always exhausted from all the physically draining activities all condensed into one weekend! No wonder Little Sam was one discontented child.

(Conceptualised 2012). Enter a whole new school:

Next we share with you the story of Little Moo. Little Sam and Little Moo are not much different in their abilities, but somehow Little Moo and her parents were much luckier. Here’s their story.

“Meee, Meee, go, go…..!” cried out Little Moo, eager to head for Happy School. Little Moo was a little slow in her speech development but this did not worry Mummy. Mummy can log into the school app to check on Little Moo’s progress anytime. Feedback and communication by the school are all sent through this platform. And mummy knows what Little Moo does in school anytime, knows her strengths and weakneses, knows who her friends are….. Mummy could even chat with teachers on Little Moo’s needs. It appeared that although Little Moo was slow to develop in speech, she was pretty good with numbers and sports

“You have to be patient and wait. The Giant Caterpillar will be here at 7.30am.” Replied Mummy. Every morning, the “Giant Caterpillar” ferries Little Moo to Happy School where she spends the entire day socializing with other kids, exploring learning activities and engaging in enrichment activities all in a “Disneyland of Schools”. Mummy had no qualms about leaving Little Moo at Happy School. She had chosen to expose Little Moo to all the different enrichment programs and sports available at Happy School. She only wanted the best for Little Moo.

Little Moo finally arrived at Happy School, decked to the theme of Hush Hush Gardens. Larger than life “plants” adorn the entire surrounds and interiors, just like a small scale theme park. “Yennow and boo.” Said Little Moo to the “Fairy” who was administering bracelets. “Yellow and Blue bracelet! That’s a nice colour!” said the “Fairy”. This was no ordinary bracelet of course. It also served
as an RFID tag, so that Little Moo’s whereabouts within the school compounds are tracked. Better still, with the strategically placed webcams, Mummy and Daddy can see what Little Moo is doing through their mobile phone or computer, any time of the day, even whilst they are at work.

“Come along Little Moo. Let’s go for Music and Dance!” called the Fairy, as Little Moo hopped on Choo Choo the Train that brings kids to various locations within Happy School. The Musical Cocoon where the music and dance lessons were conducted was a cacophony of colours. It appeared to be floating in mid air! Music streamed through the air as Little Moo crawled into the room through a tiny door, made to look like an elves entrance. In there, the mascot Flutterfly, one of the Creatures of Hush Hush Gardens was awaiting for all students to arrive before she began lessons. “Play, Play!” shouted Little Moo, pointing towards a piano in the corner. This was no ordinary piano, very different from the classic pianos that we are familiar with, it was shaped like a flower and had colourful piano keys.

Next, it was off to Home of Champs where golf lessons were conducted by none other than Champs himself, the resident dog mascot, assisted by “Pixies” and “Fairies”. This looked like a giant kennel, fit for champs. Whilst waiting for her turn with the multicoloured golf balls, Little Moo climbed one of the trees in the corner and slid down the slippery slide into the putting green.

“Bath time!” called out one of the Fairies. As the kids shuffled towards the Watering Hole. H20, the resident mascot, wearing old watering cans made her appearance to the delight of Moo. Little Moo stood under the spout of the giant watering can that sprouted water. With the help of the Fairies, Little Moo took her bath and got dressed. This particular Fairy is a retired teacher in real life. She has opted to spend 2 days a week at the school because of her love for kids. With the flexibility that the job
accords, there are many retirees, including retired professionals who work anything from 2hours to 5 days a week as Fairies and Pixies in the Hush Hush Gardens.

After a nutritious lunch of organic foods with Ronald McDonald, it was “sleepy” time. Sleepy the Snail came to wish all goodnight and sleep tight. Little Moo took her place in the Flower Bed, as the soothing music and dim lights lulled her into deep sleep. Afterwhich, it was more play when Moo could roam around Happy School and explore activities that mimic real life. Learning how everything works. From credit cards to how toys are manufactured to how cars are made… there is even Business & Finance activity areas and science experiments and a vegetable farm, an animal zoo and of course Dr Google where kids can find answers to their questions… questions like if “z” is the last alphabet, what is the last number?

At the Island of Change, a new and different learning exhibit was available every week. This week, the Island took the form of the a Island of Books. There were books, books and more books.
Giant ones, small ones, colourful ones and more….. Little Moo was told she could pay a small token with the Hush
dollars she had saved during Finance lessons to download an e-book onto her e-book device based on her choice of
the books on display. She could then sell this to her schoolmates for Hush dollars. Who says kids cannot have
a head start in good money habits or entrepreneurship?
Little Moo then tried to navigate her way through the piles of books to a Giant book that stood under the Tree house. It was difficult flipping the pages, but Little Moo persevered to read the Giant version of her favourite book.

On the other hand, Mummy was having a date with Daddy tonight. Mummy and Daddy chose to have dinner at one of the restaurants at Hush Hush Gardens, this time without Little Moo. They are assured that Little Moo is in good hands while they savour their dinner. Late nights are also not a problem as Happy School opens till 12midnight everyday. Mummy and Daddy were finally done at 10pm and swooped over to pick Little Moo. “Mummy, we coming tomorrow?” Little Moo was exhausted but ready to head back tomorrow for another day of learning fun.

Whilst other atypical parent spends weekends ferrying their kids from enrichment class, to sports, to more enrichment classes, Little Moo spends quality time with Mummy and Daddy. Mummy is assured that Little Moo is developing her potential to the fullest at
Happy School, under the different Explore Areas facilitated by established entities such as Yamaha, Kindergolf etc. Some weekends, Mummy and
Daddy even attends parenting classes or visits the fairs at Happy School too!

And homework… what homework??!!! Kids, equipped with a tablet play games to earn gems where they can exchange for gifts in school and other virtual items in the games… along the way of playing games, kids learn, math, science, language, concepts and even baking skills… just about anything an adult can do and how everything works…

Mummy has since narrowed her curriculumn choices for Little Moo to just Golf, and Music & Dance based on Little Moo’s interest and talent in these areas. Although Little Moo is still free to roam the other parts of the Explore Areas to explore and learn everything she could learn, Little Moo takes her main curriculum playfully fun. These in addition to the staple curriculum which includes how things work, language etc, will give Little Moo the head start in life. Despite her speech difficulties during her younger years, Mummy has found the Genius in Little Moo and Little Moo is no longer having difficulties with her speech.

In the above 2 scenarios, we have painted the problem and the opportunity. Happy School – A theme park, educational cum development facility and childcare service centre all rolled into one.