The relations between the supervisors and the pupils are based on trust and mutual inspiration, on striving to solve fascinating puzzles of nature together in a partnership, on involvement and passion of both parties; and thus, they become something more than just slogans.
The clubs operate outside school times but they often initiate changes that are also visible at the school level. The idea of comprehensive development that can be found in an explorer’s and a researcher’s attitude permeates the lessons and the experimental method can be successfully applied to teach the curriculum.
Self-reliance triggers positive emotions in the learning process; children and juveniles do not only acquire interesting experience but they better absorb and understand new issues. Like scientists, they are not afraid of the unknown and have courage to ask the most demanding questions. Their attitude in positively critical; they know that no one is going to give them ready answers, neither the teacher not the handbook. They become enterprising, self-confident and ready to strive for knowledge.
At the YECs there is no division into good and weak pupils, no one is graded. Here, each child can develop; if only they have curiosity and a head full of questions – they are in the club.
Making experiments together also shapes, both in the supervisors and the pupils, social and personal skills. It builds self-confidence, teaches how to cooperate, communicate, take up the initiative and be responsible. This is a continuous process of development; during the activities that the club members perform on their own they learn their strength, which adds self-confidence to them. And the man who is aware of their competences often shows more initiative. These skills are very useful in adult life and they are seldom developed by the traditional school.
Young Explorer Clubs are incorporated into a network and their supervisors can take advantage of free workshops and experience scenario bases; they can share their knowledge and plan joint actions. The club supervisors meet several times a year at the Copernicus Science Centre (CSC), also during the workshops for educators, the Science Picnic and first of all, during the YEC Forum. The YEC network connects a lot of institutions, organisations and people, and they work together on the development of the clubs; they are supervisors who work directly with children and young people, the YEC team at the CSC as well as the partners – strategic, technical and regional.
Training offer for the supervisors – financial support for travel expenses, board and accommodation, and free participation in a conference or educational workshops; you need to register the club. The registration or the running of the club does not require any fees to be paid to the coordinating institutions. Children participate in the classes free of charge.
Own investigations, reaching the heart of the matters… experimenting!
The basis for the Club activity is experiment, both its contents and the manner of performing it. Club members meet together in order to explore the world around them by performing experiments. There is no exploring without an explorer, the one who DOES NOT KNOW and therefore tries to find out, to discover. The explorers are scientists, people who function in their profession on the edge between two spheres, that which is known and that which is still waiting to be discovered. A researcher uses knowledge to ask questions, to ask the right questions, and to gain new information. The keys in such work are curiosity and persistence, which makes scientists’ attitude similar to that of …children! After all, no one keeps asking questions and searching for solutions like the youngest ones.
Research method. What is most important in the scientific method? What is it that makes it different from the experiments that only serve as illustrations, often performed during lessons? In scientific research the end result of the experiment is unknown; its result may differ from that initially assumed. It is therefore that the ability to observe and draw conclusions is of the utmost importance in this process.
In the same way, by observing, empirical experiencing, repeating and concluding, small children learn about the world.
The need for finding out? At Club meetings, the way of performing experiments responds to this childlike need. And it is this natural willingness to discover the world that is to be the driving force at the meetings and during the experiments. After some time children seek answers to their own questions and thus have actual influence on the topics discussed at the meetings. The process of reaching the truth is involving, activating and interesting. It is accompanied by the great joy of discovering which opens the mind to acquiring knowledge and skills.
This kind of learning is extremely effective.
For a start, we suggest a base of ready-made ideas for experiments [redirecting to the scenarios tab] which serve as starting points to conduct the classes. Over time club members will start asking their own questions and trying to find answers to them. During a lesson at school, the purpose of the experiments is to illustrate a certain phenomenon (topic, problem). At the Young Explorer Clubs we propose experiments of a discovering nature (such that enable finding out about new, unknown issues).