PASTORAL care has been added to the Singapore International School's curriculum. The course, which began last year, teaches students about social education, social responsibilities, mutual respect, self-awareness and self-discipline. Lynda Shen, responsible for implementing the weekly course, said students were most enthusiastic about the subject. The syllabus includes role playing through games and discussions which allow students to find out more about themselves and their interests. Before the course was created, teachers had one year to identify the needs of students. They then devised a curriculum based on students' requirements. Pastoral care is divided into several themes which include developing awareness, change and adaptability, enhancing self-concept and feelings. 'After teaching this course, we surveyed the teachers and nearly 100 per cent of the them said it was very interesting and necessary to a child's education,' Ms Shen said. She said the theme that had the most impact on students was developing awareness. 'Students were assigned to make growing charts in which they would see how much they had grown in the past year. This tended to give them a sense of progress.' Ms Shen said some lessons also required students to explore their sense of creativity, especially when assigned to take photos of their childhood and create a time line. This exercise showed them the changes they had undergone. 'The students are not graded on these exercises. It is to help them develop an understanding of themselves,' Ms Shen said. Other than teaching students about themselves, the course offers lessons in etiquette, including table manners, social behaviour and communication.