Lenie Cho is Principal of St. Francis Methodist School.
“We hope to equip every student of SFMS with knowledge and skills, instilling in them the right character and attitude.”
St. Francis Methodist School (SFMS) aims to express the mission aspects of the Methodist church through its holistic approach to education and its expression of Christian values and beliefs. Hence, although its key focus is and will always be to provide quality education for all, it continues as a mission school – to propagate the Christian faith and spread the Christian gospel while respecting the sensitivities of the multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. This is reiterated by Dr Stephen Yeo, Chairman of the Board of Directors in his message in the School Yearbook 2014. “In SFMS, our mission is to educate young people with the necessary knowledge to pass exams and move on to tertiary institutions. But much more than that, we aim to instil the virtues of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control into their character so that they will bring good into this world, do good to people around them and maintain what is good for the environment we live in, so as to leave behind a better legacy for future generations. “We hope to equip every student of SFMS with knowledge and skills, instilling in them the right character and attitude.” Character education in SFMS is supported by the Pastoral Care Curriculum. To sow the seeds for positive thinking in its students, SFMS adopted the “You Can Do It” (YCDI) model for pastoral care developed by Professor Michael E. Bernard, joining over 6,000 schools in Australia, New Zealand, England, and North America that use this programme. Through YCDI, students are introduced to 12 positive habits or types of thinking, so that they may develop strong foundation in ‘Confidence’, ‘Getting Along’, ‘Persistence’, ‘Organisation’ and ‘Resilience’. The curriculum helps build the social and emotional strengths of SFMS students so that they will achieve overall well-being, success in school and in their social life, develop positive relationships and be socially-responsible individuals in future. The YCDI curriculum is taught weekly on Fridays.
One of the foundational pillars of Methodist schools is the Christian Ministry. SFMS is a private school which belongs to The Methodist Church in Singapore, and has the privilege of following two traditions that have been handed down through all our Methodist schools, assisting in our educational mission to build character. Firstly, there is the weekly chapel service which is an integrated part of the life of the school. All staff and students attend the chapel service. We are privileged to have three chaplains from Bukit Panjang Methodist Church (BPMC): the Rev Yeung Hin Fai, the Rev Tan-Yeo Lay Suan and Pastor Peace Choi. The second tradition is a daily practice of sharing a brief ‘Thought for the Day’ based on the Bible followed by a time of silent prayer. This morning devotion conducted daily at the school assembly by Christian teachers, BPMC volunteers, Christian ministry workers (Mrs Joyce Seet and Mr James Lee) and the Principal. Our School Vision is to be a school of choice, in an international learning community, rooted in God’s Word and inspiring lives to be the best that they can be. Our Mission is to minister to the lives that God has placed within the SFMS community that is also intricately linked to BPMC, which is situated next door. Rosabella Yuan Yu Qing (left), an alumna of SFMS, is one such life that God has touched through the school. “The turning point in my life came when I attended SFMS. I have many fond memories of teachers who were patient and encouraged me in my studies. The morning devotion, chapel services and other Christian programmes in school sowed the seeds of the Gospel in my heart. It was a friendship crisis that led me to receive Christ in 2011. I was baptised at BPMC the following year. “I did not know where to go after my ‘A’ level exams so I sought the Lord’s guidance. And amazingly, God opened the door for me to study at the University of Arts in London. God helped me overcome many obstacles during my application and I am very thankful to Him for leading me this far in my life. The life in London is challenging and filled with temptations, but knowing Christ gives me the assurance that I am not alone.” The Christian ministry in SFMS under Mrs Joyce Seet provides substantial support for students in their daily lives by offering a listening ear, a comforting word, and a prayer for comfort when they are troubled or taking examinations. With a student population of 650 students from Singapore, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and many other Asian countries, the potential to influence young lives is tremendous. Students in SFMS have the opportunity get to know the Lord and be helped in their journey to discover God’s plan and destiny for their lives.
Photos courtesy of St. Francis Methodist School