Events for children endeavour to inspire a love of science and learning
VANCOUVER — The Kiddie Academies of Clark County, both Salmon Creek and Fishers Landing, will be offering a free day of exploration and discovery with their STEM Adventures program on Jan. 25.
Starting at 10 a.m. on that Saturday, both locations will be open to children and their families to take part in age-appropriate, group activities designed to inspire an understanding and love of science, technology, engineering, and math.
Parents can register online, and it is open to the public. Throughout the day, there will be opportunities for children to be a part of hands on experiments and projects where they create the final result. Parents will also be able to take home ideas on STEM related activities that could be done at home.
“We want local families to see for themselves all the ways in which Kiddie Academy’s Life Essentials curriculum taps into children’s natural sense of wonder and discovery as they explore the laws that govern the world around them,” said Richard Peterson, chief academic officer with Kiddies Academy, in a release.
The day’s activities will be split into two main categories, the “Superheroes of STEM” and “Let’s Build It!” The first will focus on several activities, starting with measurements and racing cars to learn about angles and friction. Children will also learn about Bernoulli’s Principle, catapults, flight, and Newton’s Third Law of Motion.
The second portion of the day, “Let’s Build It!” will allow children to construct their own designs out of everyday materials. Teams will build cup towers, pretzel and marshmallow buildings, model houses that can withstand wind, a pinball machine, and a water-proof shelter for a toy.
The events are largely motivated by research, some of which was conducted in Washington, which suggests that making STEM subjects social can motivate preschoolers.
“Learning STEM is like learning a language: children need to be immersed in STEM learning opportunities to become fluent,” said Dr. Allison Master, a researcher at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, in a study used by Kiddie Academy. “STEM helps children learn how to analyze information and solve problems. These are skills that are useful for all of us throughout our lives. Yet less than 5 percent of classroom time in preschool involves STEM activities!”
In her research, Master found that when 4-year-old boys and girls were asked to do STEM tasks, they did much better when they were told they were a part of a group effort and did more poorly when they were told they were working alone. They also continued at their tasks for longer and enjoyed them more, according to Master.
Kiddie Academy cites this research as cause to have more community events such as STEM Adventures. The Salmon Creek location, which opened just last year, is already operating with high attendance, and plans to make free community outreach events a regular part of the academy’s culture, according to owner John Swartz.
For more information or to sign up for STEM Adventures at either location, register online, or contact John Swartz for Salmon Creek at firstname.lastname@example.org and Vijay IIavarasan for Fishers Landing at email@example.com.