Nursery school science classes are 'magic'

A programme of inspiring science classes for nursery school children delivered by a University of Aberdeen academic have been warmly received.

Dr Wael Houssen, senior research fellow at the University’s Institute of Medical Sciences, put on specially designed science classes for small groups of 2-3 year old children at a nursery in Aberdeen in February.

The children at Little Acorns Day Nursery in Cornhill were treated to a short, interactive science class involving dry ice bubbles, glow sticks and a homemade ‘volcano’.

Now in its second year, the initiative is supported by a Royal Society of Chemistry outreach fund won by Dr Houssen.

So popular were the classes among the children and teachers, the nursery consequently set up its own small ‘science lab’ for the children.

Feedback forms filled out by nursery workers revealed the children massively enjoyed the activity, with one describing the class as ‘magic’. The children have requested more classes in the future.

Dr Houssen said: “The aim of my activities is to bring the fun and excitement of science to the less served communities like children with special education needs and children at nurseries.

“Approaching children before school age when they are much eager to explore the world will have higher impact as the experience will last with the children as they grow up.

“Inspiring children and young generations with science and research is at the heart of the University mission and has been highlighted in its strategic plan to achieve a high social impact. There are many successful outreach activities taking place every day by University staff and I hope to build on my own activity in the future.”

Last year, Dr Houssen put on similar classes at three primary schools across Aberdeen specifically for children with special educational needs.

Since the classes, teachers at Woodlands School have embraced Wael’s teachings and appointed a science co-ordinator within the school to oversee the delivery of science teaching across their curriculum.