Jenni Vartiainen 25th of May 2020
In early science education, Kide Science uses a research-based pedagogical model with play and stories at the core. The aim is that the stories and play help the children to practise scientific thinking and science process skills as the children proceed through the inquiry process. We found out how the custodians feel about this kind of approach in Kide Science’s science clubs.
Our survey was sent to custodians whose 3-10 year old children had attended Kide Science clubs during 2017-2019, and we got 163 answers. Mostly the custodians felt that Kide activities were excellent, and the aims of the clubs were met well or very well according to 88% of the custodians. Still, it was even more significant to notice that the custodians felt the clubs could excite children about natural sciences - 90% of the custodians thought that the clubs did just that.
Based on the answers of the survey, the custodians agree that stories and play are crucially important approaches when we talk about early science education. A great majority (85%) of the custodians told the children liked the stories in the clubs, and none answered that they didn’t interest the child at all. One of the custodians felt that Kide activities are especially successful in creating exciting learning approaches with stories that stir children’s imagination. Another custodian agrees and goes on to state that it’s wonderful how the scientist jackets, goggles etc. support the child’s agency as a scientist. Overall the custodians felt that the scientific play and jumping into the scientist role were one of the most successful parts of the clubs.
In Kide activities, the stories are seamlessly linked to the inquiry process: 88% of the custodians felt that the experiments during the club were successful. “The content was well-planned! The lessons were thought out and proceeded logically” , states one of the custodians. In early science education, it is very important that the child has an active role and their agency is supported. The custodians felt that this goal was reached during the clubs: The experiments were interesting and easy enough, allowing the child to experiment and try out different things themselves. The custodians also praised the way Kide Science brought science into the child’s world. Children are told about science in a manner tailored for them, emphasizes one custodian.
The content of Kide Science is produced in a multi-professional pedagogical team where there is know-how in both early education and teaching natural sciences as well as in drama pedagogy and stories. Still, even the most high-quality content does not come across without an inspiring and professional teacher. Kide Science trains all their teachers through innovative online training, where the teachers learn by doing. Based on the feedback received from the custodians, Kide Science’s training methods are able to provide the teachers with the knowledge and skills required to arrange high-quality science education to young children. Kide teacher were rated as professionals by 95% of the custodians, and 92% thought that the teacher were able to inspire children well.
The custodians felt it was meaningful that the teacher was inspiring and interested in the content themselves as well. “I feel that the instructor has been excellent, excited and really inspired the children to inquire!”, praises one of the custodians. Kide-teachers have good content-knowledge and skills to work with children. The teachers know how to guide the activities in a way that sets the inquiring and wondering child in the centre of the process.
The children were also asked how they have liked the clubs. They were given a chance to rate the Kide -science clubs from 1 to 5 stars based on how much fun they had had there. The children gave the clubs a fantastic average rating of 4,3 stars! Even when the children grow up, fond memories from the clubs remain. As one of the custodians put it: The child really liked to go to the clubs and is happy to look back to it! Thank you!