Special needs pupils learn creative skills in Song school POSTED ON JANUARY 3, 2021, SUNDAY AT 12:01 AM
Posted on : 03 Jan 2021  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Pupils learning to make necklaces with beads.

SK Cardinal Vaughan in Song teaches its pupils to be creative by turning used items into handicrafts and usable household accessories.

Headmistress Bita Jungan said the items made could include hand sanitiser holders, baskets, mats, toys, decorative and the like.

It all started in 2018 when the school was selected by the Education Ministry to be part of the School Transformation 2025 programme.

Bita wants to teach the pupils some skills and show them there are many creative ways to earn a living and be independent despite not doing well academically.

“I want them to know that. Not everyone is good in studies but that does not mean they cannot succeed in their future undertakings.

“By teaching them to make items from recyclables, the pupils can acquire a valuable skill and learn to be independent.  Some of them may have a talent for it.

“This is particularly important for those in special education classes. Not only do we want them to learn to manage themselves but also do well when they grow up,” she told thesundaypost.

Presently, there are about 20 pupils with special needs in the school.


Pupils painting the bottles which they cut in half.

Environmental care

Bita said as SK Cardinal Vaughan is a mission school, the Catholic bishop of Sibu Diocese, the Right Reverend Joseph Hii is encouraging the school to come up with a programme to promote environmental care in line with the Diocese’s 10-year Creation Justice campaign which started four years ago.

In this connection, the pupils have been asked to collect empty bottles, especially mineral water bottles, cleaners and similar items, and make them into toys.

The teachers taught them to make animal figures from the empty bottles they collected.

According to Bita, the pupils also collected cans and sold them to earn some money for their Environment Project Club (Project Alam Sekitar Kelab).

Some of the toys, made by the pupils, are placed below to the altar as part of the Christmas decorations.

The club is becoming active again through the current project, using the money from the sales of cans to buy tools and other equipment for the “creativity” project and other activities.

The pupils involved are supervised by several teachers, including those from the special education classes.

The pupils carry out the project during their free time, especially in the afternoon. For those staying at the hostel, they will do it during weekends as well.

Beta said this project was particularly helpful for the special education classes, consisting mostly of slow learners and hyperactive children.

“At least when we ask them to do the project, they will do it. For the hyperactive pupils, it’s hard to concentrate in class.

Despite this, they are coping with the project quite well – some, in fact, better than the normal pupils. They participate actively and they love it.”

She added that the pupils were more involved in the project than their time learning in the class.


A pupil painting his creative invention.

No allocation

Bita pointed out that the school was facing challenges such as the lack of resources and it did not get any allocation for the project.

The funds came mainly from the sales of cans, she revealed.

“We haven’t started selling the toys and the other items yet. We’re looking into it to raise some funds for the Environment Project Club.”

She noted that since the project began, the pupils had improved a lot in terms of creativeness and innovation.

“Some of the pupils can be more creative than their teachers. It shows this project is beneficial to them and has allowed them to showcase their talents.”

Pupils weaving baskets.

Meanwhile, the rector of St Herbert Catholic Church in Song Father David Ho was impressed with the pupils’ creativity and decided to display some of the toys as Christmas decorations.

He said this was a good way for parishioners to understand and appreciate the importance of the school’s environmental care programme.

“When I saw the items made by the pupils, I thought they were great. The items could be used to raise awareness on environmental preservation and protection for the Earth and our children.

A decorative item made by the pupils.

“This is in line with the five-year Creation Justice campaign by the Sibu Diocese to encourage Catholics to play their part in caring for creation.”

Ho added that the Sibu Diocese marked the fourth anniversary of its Creation Justice campaign this year with the Year of Water and Baptism.

He commended the school for educating the pupils to care for the environment through the campaign.

“We always teach children to be environmentally friendly.

“I think this is one way to encourage them to get involved in environmental care efforts.”

Ho said the children not only made toys but also put waste items to good use to create handbags, handles, mats and small baskets.

He hoped displaying the decorations made by the pupils in the church would remind parishioners that faith is not just with God but also about the entire creation.

“God created this Earth for us. This is where find our livelihood. Creation takes care of us by providing us with food, so we must take care of it as well,” he said.

A robot-shaped bottle, made by one of the pupils, for containing hand sanitiser