Thursday, July 09, 2009

Scenes - Sarikei St. Clement's Kindergarten

Sarikei St. Clement's Kindergarten, 1969
Sister Catherine (back row R2), now deceased.

Sarikei St. Clement's Kindergarten probably started in 1967 (can anyone confirm?). This was the year that the primary school of St. Anthony's School was relocated, leading to the beginning of St Anne's Primary School.

Sarikei St. Clement's Kindergarten, 2007
The pointed roof had been replaced and classes expanded

High pitch wailing pierced the air on the first day of school. You saw all these unfamiliar faces of the kids. You knew that your parent was going to leave you in the hands of these unfamiliar teachers and that lady in white (whom you later got to know as a nun). So you yelled even louder and rolled on the floor. Some parents decided to stand outside the window for the whole school day for the first few days to transition the kids into uncharted territory.

Sarikei St. Clement's Kindergarten, 2007
New Block (built in which year?)

Next to the kindergarten classrooms was this field where kids played "What is the time, Mr. Tiger?" If the "tiger" replied, "It's time to go home!", you better run for your life while the "tiger" tried to catch a kid to be the next "tiger". The field had a gardener's shed ("haunted house") which the kids didn't dare to go near. Now the field has a new block of classrooms to cater to the growing population.

Sarikei St. Clement's Convent, 2009
Source: SL Chen

Sarikei St. Clement's Convent, 2009
Source: SL Chen

Next to the kindergarten is the living quarters and gardens of the Catholic nuns and caretakers. Alastian dogs (German Shepard dogs) patrolled the grounds after office hours. Next to the convent was a small path with slabs of cement leading to St. Anne's Primary School. If you were not careful and ran into the gaps between the cement slabs, your small legs would be seriously bruised. Like mine which happened several times.

Sarikei St. Clement's Kindergarten, 2007

I peeped into the classroom. Some of the original boxes that were used as stools were still around. The polygon shaped tables were still around but re-surfaced. I recall learning pattern drawing on lined exercise book. Up down, up down... I remember my first Chinese book with one character in huge font and a picture per page. The rote learning had embedded these characters inside my head 人, 口, 手, 衣, 山, 田, 水, .... (the exact sequence in the pages).

Sarikei St. Clement's Kindergarten, 2007

There were new plastic chairs and tables.

Sarikei St. Clement's Kindergarten, 2007
Find the toilet

There's a new classroom at the back of the original two classes. Inside was a toilet. In the old days, the toilet was outside with a zinc roof. The boys would circle around a bucket and pee inside. The bucket of by products was probably used to fertilise the gardens.

Sarikei St. Clement's Child Care, 2007

Sarikei St. Clement's Child Care, 2007. Rest time!

Behind the original block was a newer block used as a day care centre for those parents with busy schedules. This probably started around 1980 because there was an advertisement in the 1981 Anthonian magazine.

Sarikei St. Clement's Kindergarten, 2009
Source: SL Chen

For those who had parents standing outside the kindergarten window for the whole day during your first few days at school, probably you did the same for your kids wherever you may be now. The irony was that the window partition was really caging the parents, not the kids.

To join St Clement's Kindergarten facebook group, click here.


Sarawakiana@2 said...

Kindergartens are places which are dear to a mother's heart.
They are safe places for beloved kids and hopeful havens for their kids to learn which mothers cannot teach....
Hence the importance of kindergartens and kindy teachers!!
Hope these teachers all know their sacred duties.

Chen said...

Haha, really bring back nostalgic memories. I have totally forgotten about the Mr Tiger game till I read yr post. Gosh... Suddenly i feel young once again.. back to my kindergarten days, reminiscing the good old days. :D

Remember the animal cookies and the cyclinder palm sugar sweet wrapped with shinny wrapper which we can buy during recess time? 10 cents for few animal cookies and palm sugar sweet. :D

The Devil said...

the kindergarten's new block is completed in 1984/1985 if i not mistaken coz when i'm in the 1st year of kindergaten there, the block is still underconstruction but when i'm in year 2 of kindergaten, the new block is used...

The Devil said...

the st clement's childcare... i remember my parents sent me there 1 year b4 i attend kindergaten... back in 1983... i still remember that time i dont like corned beef and always scoup it and throw it under the table for the dog when they serve me with it... hahahaha

Anonymous said...

I wonder where are all my kindy classmates now....

Henry Anak Joseph said...

A very good morning to you. Thank you for sharing your pictures and write up about many things associated with Sarikei's past and present. I have many fond memories of Sarikei. I served in Sarikei for six years and even got married in Sarikei to one former SM St. Anthony's student.

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