Young Learners’ Festival – Perspectives from our volunteers

This article is written by Mustikha and Hui Ling, volunteers with the Young Learners’ Festival 2016 held at Science Centre Singapore from 26 September to 7 October.

In anticipation of the annual Young Learner’s Festival, we volunteers had to undergo a 2-day training to better prepare ourselves for the event. On the first day, all of us were awkward with one another. We just looked at each other and none of us talked unless they were our own friends. That day was also the day we met the Science Centre Singapore staff. It was amazing how all of us became closer by the end of the event.

The preparation days were tedious because of the logistics involved. However, it was during those days that everyone bonded even if it was over straw cutting, string tying and tape pasting. We went as far as setting up “factory stations” to prepare the materials needed for the ‘Buggy Time’ and ‘Birds Peck, Monkeys Climb’ stations. We even joked that we would cry if the children were to throw the souvenirs away.

The highlight of both of our experiences was digging for earthworms at the Leaf Litter for the ‘Garden Hunt’ station. At first, we felt confident yet hesitant. We thought those worms would not scare us that much but considering the fact that neither of us dug for earthworms before, we were actually terrified when we saw creepy crawlies under the ground. In the end, we wore our big girl pants and successfully caught some with our bare hands!

*Hui Ling’s Buggy Time Experience*

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As a volunteer at the ‘Bug-gy Time’ station, it was encouraging to teach the children on bugs and receive their energetic responses that may or may not be right. But that makes the short lecture fun!

It was also heart-warming to see the young children participating enthusiastically and running about happily with their own personalised fireflies. The Marquee, where the event was held, was definitely lighted up with not just the LEDs but with their smiles too.

*Mustikha’s Garden Hunt Experience*

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I felt comfortable bringing the children to the Science Centre Ecogarden for this activity since I enjoy the outdoors. It was great seeing the children feel excited as they walked around the garden. They also had a few takeaways from the short trip such as learning that pong pong seeds are poisonous and that earthworms breathe through their skin.

Some were lucky enough to watch a monitor lizard cross the garden or a squirrel feasting on its nut. I really hope that one day, the children will learn to appreciate the nature around them like I do.

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All in all, Young Learner’s Festival had been a very fun experience for both of us as well as the other volunteers. Before this, most of us had little to no experience with young children, much less in big groups. Thanks to this event, all of us were brought out of our comfort zones. On a side note, it was definitely sad to say goodbye to the friendly staff at Science Centre Singapore after all the sweat and effort we braved together. However, the memories that were shared for the past 2 weeks were certainly irreplaceable.

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