Eighty migrant children living in London will participate in a new series of science outreach Native Explorers events at the Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine, King’s College London.
Last summer, the Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine (CSCRM) piloted four Native Explorers events under the leadership of Dr Inês Sequeira and in collaboration with Native Scientist. Ten Portuguese speaking pupils, aged 8-12 years old, participated in each event and visited the Centre to explore topics such as: skin regeneration, embryo development and DNA. A wide range of practical and hands-on activities were carried out with the guidance of scientists who spoke about the different scientific concepts in the children's heritage language.
The Native Explorers programme was designed to encourage students to have a positive attitude towards science and multilingualism. Impact evaluation of the pilot project carried out last year in June and in collaboration with experts from the University of Tübingen, showed that 80% of the pupils visited a research institute for the first time in their lives, and that there was a significant increase in the pupils interest for science and language after attending the Native Explorers’ events.
Following the success of the Native Explorers’ events, Inês Tomás, CSCRM Research Assistant and PhD student, was awarded the Language Acts and Worldmaking Small Grant to launch a new Native Explorers series entitled “Discovering Our Cells”. Inês Tomás commented that: “I am very excited to be able to engage with young children from ethnic minorities and share my passion for Science. With Native Scientist’s support, we will develop more interactive activities and practical experiments to inspire 40 Portuguese and 40 French heritage speaking students to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), multilingualism and higher education”.
CSCRM director, Professor Fiona Watt, said “I am really pleased that we will be hosting another Native Explorers series at the CSCRM at King’s College London. We’re very fortunate to have such multilingual researchers at the Centre, and harnessing that tool to engage children with science in their mother tongue is fantastic.”
Joana Moscoso and Tatiana Correia, founders of Native Scientist commented: “It’s inspiring to see how Native Explorers drive scientists to deliver high quality science outreach activities that have real impact and are developed based on tested principles and in collaboration with multiple external partners.”
Native Scientist is an award-winning European-wide non-profit organisation that promotes cultural diversity in science, education and society. Native Scientist provides science and language workshops, science communication training, and bespoke projects for various institutions, including schools, universities and embassies. The work developed connects pupils with scientists to foster science and language literacy through role modelling and science and language integrated learning. Founded in 2013, their work reaches over 1,200 pupils a year and they count with a network of over 1,000 international scientists.