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Mighty oak from little acorn grows

LABUAN – It is hard to believe that the successful St Anne’s  Kindergarten was once a small nursery of 20 pupils. Mighty oak from little acorn grows!

It all began in 1949 when the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of St Joseph (FMSJ) or “the White Sisters” planted and grew their dream. It was a modest dream – they only wanted to start a small nursery.

St Anne’s Kindergarten, or Tadika St Anne, started with one classroom of 20 pupils with Sr Edwarda FMSJ as first principal and Theresa Chiuh, the first teacher.

The FMSJ Sisters ran the nursery from 1949-1973 before they were expelled from the country. Upon their departure, the nursery was left in the hands of the local “Blue Sisters” or the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (FSIC).

Sr Ignatia Gomez FSIC was the first to be assigned to Labuan in 1973 to head the nursery which she took charge for two years. She was succeeded by Sr Clare Lombigit who held the helm till 1977 when Sr Marian Donysius came in as her replacement.

In 1978, the number of pupils stood at 100. Sr Clare returned to Labuan in 1979 and through her initiatives, the nursery was officially registered as St Anne’s Kindergarten on 2 August 1979 with the Education Department. It had three classrooms then.

Moving on from 1979, St Anne’s Kindergarten continued to grow, attracting children from all races and religions.

Today, the kindergarten registered 184 students from ages 3-5, occupying seven classrooms. All these are the fruits of the dedicated headmasters and teachers who form the backbone of the kindergarten.

Widely known as the oldest kindergarten in Labuan, Tadika St Anne has been organizing their renowned Tadika St Anne’s Cultural Night annually.  This year, it was held on 11 Aug 2018 at Palm Beach Resort.

The guest of the night was none other than Mother General Sr Frances Mani.

Highlighting “culture” as the main theme, the guests were greeted by students, teachers and members of the Board of Governors garbed in various ethnic costumes.

BOG chairman, Jocelyn Yeo spoke about the need to inculcate cultural diversity without boundaries which embraces all races and religions.  She underlined, the right start is from early childhood education.

She added, one of the vital elements to create a healthy and positive environment is to preserve the cultural diversity in every child’s learning experience.

Yeo reiterated that today’s educators, encompassing teachers, parents, guardians, must make a redoubled effort to inculcate cultural awareness beginning from early childhood education.

Tadika St Anne has prided themselves in preserving and creating awareness of cultural diversity in their students’ learning environment.

Tadika St Anne would continue to promote cultural diversity among the students as part of the vision towards generating students that are not only brilliant in academics but also students with outstanding character. – Julie Singau

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