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Learning for Life Programme

Learning for Life Programme-Community Youth Leadership (LLP-CYL)

GRC GEMS in action

Canberra Secondary’s Learning for Life Programme – Community Youth Leadership (LLP-CYL) : GRC GEMs in action, captures the aspiration of our teachers and students to develop youth leaders who impact their communities through regular service.  

The school’s LLP-CYL provides authentic learning experiences to nurture students who embody Gratitude, Respect and Compassion through student leadership trainings, mentoring and VIA experience. 

The school’s VIA programme, termed 2:168 Contributors Programme, not only develops students’ character and leadership in real-life values education, but also contributes to meeting real needs of the community. What is 2:168 Contributors Programme? The term 2:168 refers to devoting 2 hours out of 168 hours in a week to service. In essence, staff and students at Canberra Secondary School commit two hours weekly to serve a community of their choice. 


Our Purpose  and Guiding Principles as encapsulated in the VIA framework


The LLP programme at Canberra Secondary centres on purpose of nurturing students to be grateful, respectful and compassionate. The programme is developmental in nature as students learn about giving in context of family, school, community and the world through the overseas service learning trips (4 domains of service). They learn and experience 4 powerful life lessons, termed, the L.I.F.E curriculum. 

L.I.F.E refers to the lessons over the four stages of a typical life journey, namely,

Life : To appreciate life, uniqueness, dignity of each individual. 

Infirm and Frail : To appreciate, understand issues of ageing, sickness and pain. Tough times are inevitable but the human spirit is strong. 

End-in-Mind : To develop a legacy mindset which is aspirational 

The service-learning pedagogy, forming the outer ring, undergirds and connects all the various activities.

Our Programme

For all 
1. Student leadership Training based on the Servant Leadership Model by van Dierendonck and Nuijten (2011)

The school adopts The Servant Leadership Model by van Dierendonck and Nuijten (2011) as their student leadership framework, which is mapped to the GRC GEMS. 


The GRC GEMS Developmental Outcome was done at the end of the school year for all students to measure their leadership behaviours. Thereafter CCs will follow up with the students during PTI to see how they are able to improve. 

2. VIA through CCA : 2:168 Contributors Programme

Each CCA adopts a regular VIA programme in which they partner and serve a community of their choice. Facilitated by the CCA teachers, students are led to think of, implement and celebrate their learning through the service-learning pedagogy. 

Service-learning pedagogy :

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The key in engineering a change in attitudes lies in facilitation of reflection. Teachers adopt the Borton’s Model of Reflection to guide the students to frame their thoughts and examine the impact of their actions on self, others and the community they serve in. The end point would be how this learning translates to a change in mind-set and attitudes, consequentially, their behaviour at home, in school, and/or community.

Beginning with the end in mind, teachers determine the learning outcomes of their programme by setting service objectives and learning objectives with their students at the pre-service reflection. 

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Our students in action 

llp-6.jpgOne example of a 2:168 Contributors programme is the two shopping events held in June and November. This was a special VIA project by our student leaders and One Dream titled “HOME (HOpe + MEmories)”, llp-7.jpgin which, the school organised a free shopping experience for more than 1000 beneficiaries. With sponsorship from two shopping retail chains, our teachers, parents from PSG and students gave memories of hope for these identified families who came from different parts of Singapore to shop for free. 
Imagine the school hall was being converted to a shopping mall!

3. Global Canberran-Overseas Service Learning Programme (GCP-OSL)

Our Secondary 3 students were involved in projects that seek to improve lives and strengthen communities in ASEAN countries. In 2018, our students embarked on a 4D-3N trip from 9 to 12 March to Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. In all the countries of visit, our Secondary 3 students built infrastructure and conducted interactive educational programmes at village primary schools and orphanages. In Indonesia, our students constructed water filtration systems in the village at Bintan, while students who went to Batam built a toilet at a primary school located in the slum. In Vietnam and Thailand, our students worked collaboratively with the local children to leave our imprints on the walls of the schools or orphanages with GRC (Grateful, Respectful, Compassionate)-themed and educational messages. 

In the words of our students, teachers and parents … 

“At that moment, I realised how providential I am to be born and to live in Singapore and receive warmth and happiness through education and a wonderful house to live in.” – Participant of GCP Bintan

 “I learnt that we should work as a team more often because it helps us achieve greater things compared to doing things alone.” – Participant of GCP Vietnam

 “I learnt more about my form class students. I thought some girls looked physically weak, but their sense of diligence and determination to complete the assigned tasks is so strong.” –Character Coach

“She has become more generous and is more willing to help her family members.”  Parent of 3N2 student

For some

1. Student Councillors’ training llp-11.jpg

a) Student Leaders Training Camp (SLTC)
The aim of the camp is to build a community of student leaders who are able to support one another in their leadership process. At the same time, differentiated trainings were provided for the different groups of officially-appointed 
student leaders to help them understand their roles and responsibilities. After the camp, the student leaders were guided to plan and implement initiatives that fit the school needs and are aligned with the GRC STAR. 

2. CCA-VIA student leadership mentoring workshop llp-12.jpg

CCA-VIA student leaders of each CCA attended a 4-month mentoring programme to conceptualise, execute and facilitate a school improvement project with focus areas on improving student well-being, sense of belonging, school pride. 

3. Student Leaders Investiture
The Annual Student Leaders Investiture seeks to affirm our student leaders and inspire them to continue to contribute to the school and beyond as community youth leaders. The theme “Serving with Compassion” is an apt reminder to all student leaders to be a servant leader while making the difference. 

Our GRC stories and accolades

Appreciated by parents

Parents of GCP-OSL (overseas trips) 2019 participants 
“He has become more sensitive to the needs of under-privileged pupils in other countries as well as those around him.” 
“He stopped buying things that he doesn’t need.”

Parents of Cohort 1, Batch 2018
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Our cohort 1 students expressed gratitude to their parents in 2018 when they first joined the school.
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The same cohort of students expressed their gratitude to their parents in 2019.

Parents who volunteer at our community events

“This is the third event I have volunteered. This round is more organized and the crowds are smooth. Once again, a meaningful outreach to the community.”
- Vice-chairman of PSG

“This event was managed well from school side. I didn’t see any visitors had question in what to do next. The student leaders had good information of their activity. Every participant was in good spirit and enthusiastic till the end. Volunteers were also well taken care of. It was nice to meet the parent volunteers and chat during breaks. Overall felt it was a good positive experience.
Secondary One parent, first time volunteer with 2 children

Affirmed by partners

Canberra Grassroots Organisation (GRO) is proud to be able to work collectively with Canberra Secondary School to deliver high quality programmes to serve residents of all ages and races. This partnership has indeed grown from strength to strength, in particular, from this year on, we aspire to build a Grateful, Respectful and Compassionate Community @ Canberra
Emily Tan Constituency Director 
Canberra Community Club

'We would like to thank the students from Canberra Sec for bringing joy to our patients at Kang Le Day Care Centre. The patients thoroughly enjoyed their performances and activities ranging from games to art & craft. The students' youthful enthusiasm livened up the atmosphere and brought smiles to the patients' faces. We look forward to the subsequent visits by the students in the coming months. '
Michelle Lok | Community Relations Executive 
HCA Hospice Care
Young Caregivers team

Seniors and those unwell in the community may be losing a little hope each day, but youths like yourselves are hopes of the future. Continue the journey to bring hope to the more vulnerable groups though the Share-a-Pot programme you’re planning and consider becoming a volunteer, an advocate or choosing healthcare as a career in the future, to build a healthy, active and thriving Community of Hope. 
Tham Sinma, Assistant Director
Community Transformation Office, Woodlands Health Campus

Befriending patients in a palliative care unit requires empathy, tact and compassion. At the end-of-life stage, palliative patients need the warmth, understanding and companionship that friends, family and volunteers bring to them. The student’s presence has brought much joy to our patients on a quiet afternoon. 
Linda Ong
Volunteer Coordinator of Yishun Community Hospital

Advocated by students and alumni 

“I learned that language is not a barrier if the heart is willing to help.” 
A Secondary 1 student who conducted Music Therapy at All Saints Home

One challenge was for me to play properly with the Metta Home resident, because I had to adjust my strength so as to match the ability of the Metta Home resident, and I felt bad when I was unable to deliver countless hits that I nearly felt like crying, but I realised that I just needed to be more confident in myself that I can adjust to allow the Metta Home residents to enjoy themselves, than for me to show my strength. Another challenge was for me to interact with the Metta home resident. All I was able to do was provide hand gestures. The gesture felt like a compliment to the resident and that made her smile. 
A Secondary 3 student, serving residents from Metta Home

Growing deeper in learning 

A student who was a sub-committee member in 2018 and in 2019, became the overall student leader IC. 

We have made them feel happy by letting them to choose what they really need. They feel grateful for us in giving things that they really need. I learned how to interact with people we are not familiar with. Furthermore, teamwork is very important; without your teammates, you will not be able to organise an event smoothly. I feel happy because we have done a good deed even though the thing maybe be small. There would be smiles on the peoples’ faces after they come to the school. We were very tired as we have to stand for a long time and also have to serve people with a smile.

2019 – The same student showed depth and growth as she reflected on the necessity and strength of teamwork. 

I learned that teamwork is very important. If you want the event to run smoothly, you have to ensure you have cooperative team members. Every member is important. Furthermore, a good planning is essential. If you have a plan, you will be able to know what to do if you meet with any problems. For the next round, we need to know how many types of books there are together. This time round, there were many books but few variety, thus people who come have less choice. Overall the smiles of the customers hit me most. On the actual day, there were a couple and a child around Primary 1. I was walking around the canteen seeing if anyone need my help. They came toward me and requested for primary school level books. But there was not much left. Even though there weren’t much choice left, they did not grumble and thanked me for helping them. They left the school with a smile on their faces. I feel very contented that I am able to be involved in this event because this allows me to help others and also learn to appreciate what I owned now. I realise that not everyone is as fortunate as us to be able to get what we want. I learn not to take things from granted.  

Another student who was a sub-committee leader in 2018 and in 2019, she became the overall student leader IC.

I have learnt to lay out a plan in the things we are doing so that there will be high efficiency. I have learnt to work as a team and to be cooperative with each other. I have also learnt that every problem has a solution. From the event, I felt satisfied as the people who came to the apparel section were able to find a clothes that they like and were happy with what they received from there. I was also able to do the setting up of the hall and felt how hard it was for the members but how everyone cooperated to complete the task. Our hard work paid off as we served the customers and they complimented us. The leaders also did it together from the start of the project, and overcame many problems, this is also what made me feel satisfied.

2019 – The same student reflected on the need to adapt to changes, showing her maturity as a leader of a small group to the entire committee. 

I learned to be able to adapt to changes quickly as there were many changes made before and during the event. The packing up at the end of the event was as tiring as the setting up and we had to think on our feet how to best organize ourselves though we were already very tired. One challenge we faced was that the books were not sorted properly. This made it difficult for us to find and replenish some books. We overcame many challenges by working as one and supporting one another. We helped each other whenever a problem arose. No one complained or grumbled. Overall I feel happy to participate in this event as I saw many people leaving with a smile on their face. Some even said thank you to our students as they left. This shows that our initial simple plan is able to bring a change in their lives even though it may be small. One thing that hit me most was when I greet every customer who came, many of them did the same but with a brighter smile than mine. It showed how excited they were to be able to choose books for their children or themselves – that made me feel that the hard work put into this event by everyone was worth it. 

Alumni’s reflection from perspective of both as an alumni and Boys’ Brigade Officer. 
1. Canberran Alumni, Vice-chairman of the alumni
As an alumni, I feel that this is a good opportunity for us to contribute back to the school as part of this VIA project. With the alumni’s experience either in tertiary education or work, this is one platform that alumni can value add to the students running the project. 

2. BB Officer 
As a BB Officer, I was delighted that the BB Boys had this opportunity to collaborate with school to be part of the event. The BB Boys were given the role of the usher and they felt privileged to play a part to blessed the underprivileged students from the community. 
Overall this VIA project has helped the boys to not only be more aware of the needs of the community, it also helped them to be more grateful and appreciative of what they have.