Problem solving, spatial awareness and observation are among the core skills being encouraged in a new Sheffield children’s group.
Dinky Discoverers gives young children, aged two to four, the chance to experience science, technology, engineering and maths, whilst making their own discoveries. Each of the dynamic and fun sessions – held on Wednesday mornings at St Columba’s Church in Crosspool – is themed around a different experiment, designed to give a secure foundation for children to enjoy learning with confidence.
And, as with so many of the city’s terrific children’s groups, Dinky Discoverers is the brain child of Sheffield mum Alice Curren, who came up with the idea while struggling to find pre-school classes for her son Daniel, now aged five.
“During Daniel’s pre-school years I noticed that I couldn’t find play opportunities for young children who are fascinated with how things work.” recalls Alice, who is also mum to two-year-old Lucy.
“I attended various playgroups and classes with my son, but none really focused on his passion for understanding the world. As he got older I found it increasingly difficult to interest him with singing or dancing classes.”
It wasn’t until 12 months ago, after being made redundant, that Alice decided the time had come for her to try and fill this gap.
“I wanted to create something positive from the redundancy and utilise my science degree,” says Alice.
“Although daunting, the prospect of a completely new direction in my work life was very appealing.”
The sessions instantly became popular, tempting the kids with self-guided play at themed play stations, which include a maths area, nature table, construction centre and technology table, all carefully designed to spark inquiring young minds. Perhaps one of the most popular stations is the custom made discovery boards which have been designed and built by Dinky Discoverers to promote problem solving through play.
“I wanted to provide a visually appealing learning opportunity for children who like to tinker; I hope these play sessions can be that space for other children like Daniel,” says Alice.
“At this age children are great explorers and naturally fiddle with things to find out what happens. Our locks and latches board is a natural attraction for those busy fingers! I also hope the group will inspire young children to be excited about STEM.”