The Story of Kide Science

Kide Science was born around the results of scientific research on how young children can learn science in a playful learning environment. The researcher, Jenni, however, started the research project from a completely different setting. At first, she was studying adolescents and how their interest in science can be supported. After reading a pile of research papers about interest in science education one thing was certain - if we want to support children’s interest in science in an effective way, we have to start introducing science at a very early age. But how this is done in practice was not unambiguous - and Jenni felt that so intriguing that she changed the research setting.

The five-year study about young children’s playful science education started at the University of Helsinki. The data was collected from young children’s science clubs. Club environment allowed testing the most creative ways to introduce science for young children. Finally, the playful model for early science education was produced. During this research period, the clubs had gained so strong popularity among families that they wanted more of that. To answer the huge demand to organize science clubs all over Finland, the idea of establishing a company rose. Aino had worked as a science club teacher and a co-developer of the playful science education model from the very beginning of the project. She jumped in as a co-founder of the company.

However, quite soon the researcher and the teacher realized that the company needs someone who has the strive after thinking about budgets and quick scaling. We started searching for a business-minded person to join our team. This is when Sari came into the picture. Sari proved to be just the person we needed. Our company scaled quickly all around Finland and in just half a year of operation we were an international company.

Of course, Kide Science is not just the work of the founders - there is a wonderful, engaged and talented team behind all of this. Some of the team members have been with us since the university times and some people have joined us later. Everyone is equally important for making our success story. All of us share the vision that has been the cornerstone of Kide Science since the beginning. We want to promote scientific thinking through early science education.

Our Vision of Future Learning - written by Founder Jenni Vartiainen

The traditional view of learning is that there is someone with higher cognitive abilities, with more knowledge, and professional skills. That someone, often a teacher, shares the expertise for less capable ones, usually children, by telling, describing and demonstrating. Children are seen as passive receivers of knowledge, almost like vessels into which knowledge can be poured.

Instead, children are naturally active learners - they have a strong tendency to explore, test and experiment how the world around them functions. Knowledge needs to be built on experiences, it benefits the emotional engagement and it requires tactile, hands-on learning in various learning environments. Children are not tabula rasas but they have very sophisticated ideas about the reality they have constructed in different everyday situations.

If we want to raise children to become the problem-solvers and creative thinkers that future society needs, we can not make children sit down and absorb knowledge. We want children to become producers of knowledge and meaning. For young children, the natural way to produce meaning is by playing. If we give up feeding children with ready-ground knowledge and allow them to construct understanding with their peers through play, we can raise future citizens who have the capability, creativity and co-operation skills that the very blurry future with its yet undefined challenges require.