Cub reporters have a field day

Pupils turned picture editors yesterday as they decided which picture of Joseph Schooling should be used for their story at the ST Young Storymakers Camp, a highlight of the sixth SmartKids Asia exhibition. The children got to have their byline photo
Pupils turned picture editors yesterday as they decided which picture of Joseph Schooling should be used for their story at the ST Young Storymakers Camp, a highlight of the sixth SmartKids Asia exhibition.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
Pupils turned picture editors yesterday as they decided which picture of Joseph Schooling should be used for their story at the ST Young Storymakers Camp, a highlight of the sixth SmartKids Asia exhibition. The children got to have their byline photo
The children got to have their byline photos taken next to the SPH van, and were presented with a customised LRD press pass at the end of the session.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Pupils walk in shoes of a war reporter and pick up relevant skills at ST event

Inspired by the story of journalist Clare Hollingworth who broke the news about the start of World War II, 90 pupils set out to walk in the shoes of a war reporter yesterday.

The intrepid young adventurers were taking part in The Straits Times Young Storymakers Camp, one of the highlights of the sixth SmartKids Asia (SKA) exhibition.

It is a programme by the ST Schools team, which is behind award-winning weekly school publications IN and Little Red Dot (LRD).

This is the first time the team is working with event organiser Sphere Exhibits to present quality news-themed activities at Asia's largest educational fair.

Ms Serene Luo, ST Schools editor, fired up the kids' imagination with Ms Hollingworth's noteworthy story, encouraging them to imagine that they were correspondents reporting on the Japanese Occupation in Singapore from 1942 to 1945.

Part of the tour included a visit to the Battlebox, an underground bunker on Fort Canning Hill used by the British during the war.

The kids were introduced to historical figures such as generals Arthur Percival and Tomoyuki Yamashita, and the strategies of the British to protect Singapore.

  • SMARTKIDS ASIA 2017

  • WHERE: Singapore Expo Hall 6

    WHEN: Today, 10am to 9pm; tomorrow, 10am to 8pm

    PRICE: Admission is free, with some ticketed activities

    For more info on SKA, visit www.smartkidsasia.com

    For more info on the school publications, visit http://www. straitstimes.com/stschools/

The inquisitive pupils quizzed the guides, even asking about what happened to the generals after the war.

Taken to look at the gravestones at the Fort Canning cemetery, the young participants were shocked to find that the youngest laid to rest there was a seven-day-old infant.

On gaining a deeper understanding of the war, Lim Wan Xing was intrigued by the job of gathering news. "I liked being able to see what objects survived (the war) and listening to stories," said the 10-year-old Punggol Primary pupil.

Another highlight was the LRD Pop-Up Newsroom, which is usually reserved for primary schools, but made its public debut at the fair.

Participants learnt about what goes on in a newsroom by visiting its stations.

Working in teams, they tried their hand at gathering information, writing headlines and selecting photos for a news story.

Each child was rewarded for his hard work with a customised LRD press pass at the end of the session.

CHIJ Kellock's Destinee Tay, nine, was a fan of the Photo Desk station.

The Primary 4 pupil, whose team managed to pick the most suitable photo for the given article, said: "We read the captions of all the photos first, and then see if they link to the newspaper article."

Ngee Ann Primary's Chloe Koh liked the headline-writing station best. The Primary 4 pupil said: "Sometimes the headlines are not very relevant to the stories, but here, we get to create our own."

Parents, too, can join in the action by attending special parenting masterclasses today and tomorrow.

Helmed by experts in their fields, the masterclasses will impart tips on helping kids be their best selves.

Among those speaking are ST correspondents and teaching specialists Debra Ann Francisco and David Tay, who will speak on using the news to coach children at home, and how to differentiate real from fake news, respectively.

Other speakers include Ms Sha-En Yeo, who will touch on the science of positive psychology and how that will help kids thrive while in school and beyond, as well as Mr Brandon Oh, who will share how everyday experiences and objects can contribute to a love of maths.

Among other events to look forward to are hands-on activities such as baking and printmaking, as well as meet-and-greet sessions with popular cartoon characters such as those from Pororo & Friends and My Little Pony.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline 'Cub reporters have a field day'. Print Edition | Subscribe