Learning about $ and cents can be fun

Children at Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre - Basic enjoying their financial literacy lesson which comes in the form of scrapbooking activities based on material from The Straits Times.
Children at Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre - Basic enjoying their financial literacy lesson which comes in the form of scrapbooking activities based on material from The Straits Times.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

The financial literacy exercise uses worksheets created by the ST Schools team

The sound of scissors snipping, newspapers rustling and children excitedly chatting away filled Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre - Basic yesterday.

More than 40 children at the centre - one of three under AMKFSC Community Services - pieced together words and pictures from The Straits Times to learn to identify the differences between a need and a want.

The afternoon's exercise, on financial literacy, required the youngsters to select images or advertisements that featured various objects, which they then classified into two columns.

For example, they pasted pictures of watches under "Needs", and those of cars under "Wants".

Said Liau Siong Kai, eight, a Primary 2 pupil from Ang Mo Kio Primary School: "It's fun... I will go home and do this with my parents."

A HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE

Scrapbooking gets children interested in stories in a way that words alone cannot. It is a tactile, creative experience, and works especially well for topics that can be hard to understand, such as financial literacy.

THE STRAITS TIMES SCHOOLS EDITOR SERENE GOH, on how scrapbooking may be a more effective teaching tool sometimes

The financial literacy worksheets were created by The Straits Times Schools team. They were sponsored by the RHB Banking Group, and will be distributed electronically with 2,000 hard copies of STep: My Year In The News, which also contains values-centred activities. RHB has also sponsored the 2,000 copies of STep.

STep is a current affairs folder, also created by The Straits Times Schools team, and includes stickers and cutouts.

  • Fast way to donate to pocket money fund

  • Instead of making cash or cheque donations, those who want to contribute to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF) can now do so through its website.

    SPMF is the first charity organisation to allow consumers and businesses to make donations via Fast And Secure Transfers (Fast) - a banking service launched early last year for instant fund transfers using just account numbers.

    This new option means SPMF donors who hold accounts with any of the 14 participating banks will be able to donate online more conveniently through bank transfers.

    SPMF general manager Tan Bee Heong said online donations currently account for 10 per cent of the total funds collected by the SPMF. "It is hoped that with Fast, more donations can be raised electronically," she said.

    Mr Han Fook Kwang, who is the SPMF chairman, said: "We are grateful to have the support of the banking industry in this meaningful partnership."

    Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, director of the Association of Banks in Singapore, said the association hopes more charitable organisations will come on board to offer donors the convenience of electronic donations via Fast.

    To make donations via Fast, consumers and businesses can visit the SPMF website at http://www.spmf.org.sg/donate and select "FAST" as the donation mode.

    Kok Xing Hui

The folder with the worksheets can be bought directly from Singapore Press Holdings for $14.

The exercises in it aim to build English language vocabulary and get pupils to use the news to create their own stories.

Sponsored copies will go to beneficiaries of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF), some of whom were present at yesterday's session.

Madam Rosliah Mohamed, the centre's student coordinator, said the folder's activities would continue to be used for its pupils during the upcoming school holidays.

SPMF general manager Tan Bee Heong was glad for the initiative, which tied in with the charity's aim to support the personal development of beneficiaries beyond providing them with pocket money.

The folders were easy to use and promoted self-learning. "They don't have to do it at a specific time. There's flexibility. They can learn at their own time, with their parents," said Ms Tan.

RHB Banking Group has also been the title sponsor of the RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship since 2012.

Mr Luke Diep Thoi Luc, RHB Bank Singapore's head of brand marketing and communications, as well as property and administration, said: "This is in line with what we set out to achieve as part of our group. We always want to reach out to children. That's always been our emphasis, to nurture the young, to get them involved in learning."

The Ang Mo Kio centre's staff, The Straits Times Schools team, and RHB and SPMF staff who guided the pupils during yesterday's session were heartened by their enthusiasm.

The Straits Times Schools editor Serene Goh said: "Scrapbooking gets children interested in stories in a way that words alone cannot. It is a tactile, creative experience, and works especially well for topics that can be hard to understand, such as financial literacy."

SPMF beneficiaries will receive four special inserts related to financial literacy with their current affairs folders, which they can work on throughout the year.

To purchase STep: My Year In The News, e-mail ngpbk@sph.com.sg or ccarmen@sph.com.sg.

  • Additional reporting by Nur Syahiidah Zainal and Katelyn Woodworth
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2015, with the headline 'Learning about $ and cents can be fun'. Print Edition | Subscribe