Parents are sometimes concerned by the fact that their child runs around a science centre, doesn’t read descriptions and instructions, and quickly goes from one exhibit to another. There’s no need to worry – this is perfectly normal behaviour as very often children need to get familiar with the surrounding and do their “reconnaissance” before they decide to consciously explore anything. That is why it is a great idea to come back with them more than once to a place, where they can learn and experience something new. Together with the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, we have led studies on this matter in the Copernicus Science Centre. Their participants – children – visited the CSC five times for five successive weeks. In the meantime, we observed the differences between the visits. After one month from the last visit, we asked the parents if those visits had had any impact on their children – and all of them said “yes”. Children began to ask more questions, perform spontaneous experiments at home and “perceive the world differently”. Even we didn’t expect to see such changes. In one letter, a parent wrote: “I don’t like YOU :)! Now, we have to experiment every day. Luckily, we are just the audience – our daughter does everything by herself”.
Other research has shown the benefits of parents visiting science centres with their children and experimenting with exhibits together. Parents’ involvement positively impacts the way children – especially the youngest ones – acquire knowledge. Research has shown that when family members used exhibits together and talked about the observed phenomenon, children played with the exhibits longer and with more interest.
On Children’s Day young explorers – regular visitors and holders of the Copernicus Club card – will turn into Explainers. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. they will be talking about exhibits and presenting them to all visitors. Come and see how science looks like when it’s presented by children!