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By Cornelia Colonius

Teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) to children has been a growing focus amongst parents and teachers in the last couple of years, and for good reasons. We need more scientist and innovators and STEM education holds the key. Building Lego robots, learning basic coding, programming a drone, or learning about "cool" science experiments all help kids become creative thinkers and problem solvers, and a strong STEM education will ensure they are in a good position to compete in the future job market.

On Sunday 24 September at the KIDSORTED Special STEM Family Event you have the chance to meet a variety of high quality STEM providers in person. A highlight you can look forward to is to meet the team behind Richer Education who will be displaying a range of activities and demonstrations across STEM subjects in a fun and exciting way. Their team consists of tutors and mentors from primary and secondary schools, PhD students and post-doctoral researchers, all specialists in what they teach. The team will also provide two 30-minutes demonstration sessions in one of the venue's lecturing halls.

In preparation for the big day, we sat down with the Richer Education team to get the inside scoop:

What made you decide to run a STEM business?

We focus on STEM with the objective to educate children in four specific subjects in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. The idea of running a company focused on STEM is to enhance children’s knowledge in a practical way. Rather than teaching the four STEM disciplines on a separate basis, we integrate STEM education into a more cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.

In other words, we educate children to place STEM subjects in a real-life context. The emphasis is on fun, yet we inspire learning about concepts through dialogue and questioning.

What drives you every day to come and teach STEM to children?

We are both from teaching backgrounds (Sian was a science teacher for six years, and Rafael taught mathematics for twelve years both in inner London schools). As teachers, we both perceived that generally, the approach to communicating knowledge to children tends to be rigid and prescriptive in schools due to time constraints and pressure to deliver the school curriculum.

We find it exciting and rewarding to organise, plan and deliver sessions to encourage children to discover and explore the STEM disciplines by themselves, being led by specialists in science, robotics, engineering and mathematics. Our tutors are passionate about delivering the best possible experience for children of all ages. We are inspired and driven to deliver quality in every session we run. It is highly rewarding to witness children understand a concept in science or solve a mathematical problem or programme a robot.

What can London families look forward to on the day of the event? Will Richer Education show any live experiments / demonstrations?

We will be displaying a range of activities and demonstrations across the STEM subjects. Families will also have the opportunity to speak with some of our tutors and mentors about our classes, camps and even about their academic experience. We believe that parents, and any visitors in general, will have a unique opportunity to meet the team and discover more about us.

Do you generally see more girls or boys in your classes? Has this changed over the years?

We typically avoid focusing on gender as our primary goal is to foster children’s interest towards STEM subjects. Our classes, workshops, masterclasses and camps are open to all children between the ages of 4 and 14. We have witnessed a steady increase in the preference of STEM activities with children in general.

From what age onwards would you recommend for kids to get started with STEM subjects?

Children are naturally inquisitive and consistently seek to learn more about the world around them. Therefore, parents may choose to introduce their children to age-appropriate STEM activities from an age deemed appropriate for their child. Our science class starts at age four as children are accustomed to routines through their time spent at pre-school.

We are known, and we pride ourselves to take care extra-care to deliver high-quality content in our classes and camps. We encourage children to learn about STEM subjects through real-world experiences. The emphasis is on fun, yet we inspire learning about concepts through dialogue and questioning.

What can parents do at home to encourage children to get excited about STEM subjects?

There are many ways parents can engage children at home with STEM subjects. We encourage parents to discuss with their child any ideas or misunderstandings they may have. There are many learning opportunities at home that range, from learning about how computers work, taking apart an old telephone to making an acid/base indicator using red cabbage, as well as, many other day-to- day concepts that we usually take for granted.

A last word, what would you say is the best thing about STEM?

We particularly like that children can be creative, become problem-solvers, develop their team working skills and apply their imagination to a range of activities and experiments.

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