Science from the Start provides informal science learning opportunities for all, with a focus on reaching groups which are under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) activities. This began by designing and providing activities for children, along with support and information for their parents/carers, with the main focus on pre-school age children (0-5 years). However, older children were and are always welcome; we aim to be as inclusive as possible and as the project has grown, we have worked to provide opportunities for other groups such as young and adult carers, adults and children with disabilities, refugee families and families in low socioeconomic status areas. We collaborate with and are sometimes funded by other organisations with complementary aim, such as WECIL (West of England Centre for Inclusive Living), the British Science Association, Cotton On and the Royal Society of Chemistry. Our overarching ethos is ‘science and opportunity for everyone’.
Why science for under 5s? Well, according to the Wellcome Trust, this age group is underserved for informal science learning (the sort of learning that goes on outside of formal education settings), so they don’t get as many opportunities as older children to do fun, science-related stuff at events and so on. And adults sometimes don’t think very young children can understand ‘science’. But science learning at this age is really just exploring – it falls within Understanding the World in the Early Years Foundation Stage used in England (you can read more about all of this here). So, Science from the Start is all about giving children extra opportunities to find out about the world around them and how it works, and helping their families to give them those opportunities. Mostly these happen in everyday life, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few organised activities too!
To help with finding some of those, the Science from the Start directory of informal science learning opportunities for pre-school aged children (under 5s) and their parents/carers/families in the UK and Channel Islands can be accessed here.
Science from the Start is proud to be a holder of the Family Arts Standards, which cover considerations for families wishing to visit events.