In conjunction with Tadika Seri Soka’s (TSS) objectives to provide an overview of Soka Education and share the research and practice of Soka Education philosophy and values with parents and teachers, TSS held a talk entitled "The Philosophy and Values of Soka Education" for parents at the TSS Hall on May 26. The talk was conducted by Dr Wendy Yee Mei Tien to an audience of 105 people.
Dr Yee has a doctorate degree in Youth Development and is currently a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaya (UM). For over ten years, she has lectured on education, inter-ethnic relationships, peace and humanities.
In her speech, Dr Yee introduced the origin of Soka (or value-creating) philosophy and Soka Gakkai first president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi. President Makiguchi came from a poor family and was abandoned by his parents. Fortunately, he was later raised by his uncle’s family and given an opportunity to study and became a teacher. He rose to become principal of several elementary schools before retiring.
Driven by his deep love for children and concern for their happiness, he researched on how education could help them lead a happy life. He believed that education is meaningful only when teachers did everything they could in making sure that the children in front of them could lead a happy life. Despite the hostile social climate of his time, his research later led him to publish Soka kyoikugaku taikei (The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy) which, unlike other pedagogies, was based on day-to-day teaching and down-to-earth examples he encountered. To date, his pedagogy has received worldwide attention and appraisals besides being translated into actual practice in numerous schools in countries such as Brazil and Panama.
Dr Yee also pointed out that the Soka education system which encompasses kindergartens – including TSS – to universities are practising President Makiguchi's educational philosophy. She stressed the importance of the teaching methods of Soka education in kindergarten as it is important for children to strengthen the foundation of their lives as early as possible. She also stressed the importance of getting the students to learn and internalise values such as becoming strong, righteous and lively as found in the kindergarten’s motto. For children to be able to cope with life after kindergarten, she advocated that they learn about finding hope, courage and friendship.
During the question-and-answer session that followed, many questions were fielded and Dr Yee answered each one with patience and insight, at times referring to her child who had studied in TSS and impacted by its educational philosophy.