Saturday Science Club Project Lead

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Kew Gardens, Richmond, Surrey
Up to £2,500 (freelance)

Paid • Part Time • Fixed Term Contract [email protected] Family and Early Years Manager

Sectors: environmental education, conservation & wildlife

Closing date: Sunday, 31st January 2021  

Saturday Science Club Brief

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is looking for a freelancer with a passion for plant science and family learning to lead on the new family learning project, the Saturday Science Club.

About us:

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world leader in plant science and conservation, as well as a leading visitor attraction. Our mission is to unlock the potential of plants and fungi, through the power of scientific discovery and research. 

Kew runs a successful Family and Early Years programme, through which we are committed to engaging families from public and community audiences with high-quality learning opportunities. All our activities promote curiosity and connect children and their parents/ carers to nature, including our regular Music and Movement, Little Explorers and Sunday Stories sessions. Through our programmes, we target the most hard-to-reach families, engaging them with Kew and equipping them with new skills and ways to learn together outdoors. In the past year, we have supported more than 14,300 adults and children in facilitated family and early years activities at Kew and offsite, through targeted outreach activities.

The project:

The Saturday Science Club will engage families with children aged 5-11 years in fun, enquiry-based practical science activities, encouraging them to investigate, question and develop a sense of wonder about the amazing world of plants. This new programme will incorporate Science Capital principles, in particular participation in out-of-school science learning contexts. Families will have the opportunity to engage with science in a positive way, emphasising that science is ‘for them’ and relevant to their everyday lives. The project is funded by the Richmond Parish Land Charity (RPLC) and we aim to recruit harder-to-reach families from the RPLC benefit area to participate in the programme.

Key deliverables: 

  • Content for five Saturday Science Club sessions, with strong links to Kew Science and how plants and fungi relate to our everyday lives. 
  • Recruitment of 20 harder-reach families to participate in five sessions and take part in the Kew Science Festival
  • Delivery of five Saturday Science Club sessions from April to September, including a pilot activity/launch at Community Open Week w/c 12th April 2021.
  • A co-curated science-themed family learning workshop in collaboration with Saturday Science Club participants, to be delivered at Kew’s Science Festival, September 2021 (dates to be confirmed). 
  • Evaluation tools (in consultation with the Family and Early Years Manager) to capture parents’ and children’s growing engagement and confidence in science, and the increased value they place on plants and fungi. 

Intended outcomes: 

1. Parents and children will have greater engagement and confidence in science, and the value of plants and fungi.

To achieve the greatest impact, our intention is to recruit and work with the same families, building their engagement during the five sessions and the Kew Science Festival. This repeated participation will enable us to embed science skills and attitudes over a longer period. The project will track parents’ and children's understanding of science. We intend to explore a potential change in:

  • Engagement and confidence in science - do the parents/ children see it as relevant and connected to their own lives?
  • Value of plants and fungi – do the parents/children make new changes in their lives to help protect them?

2. Families participating in the Science Club will have the confidence to share their new science skills and knowledge with other families at the Kew Science Festival.

Families participating in the Science Club will be invited to participate in the Science Festival Family Learning Workshop, helping and encouraging other families to:

  • develop connections between plants and their lives - engage with science skills and knowledge
  • understand that science is an important part of their lives and culture.

Freelancer requirements:

The freelancer will work closely with Kew’s Family and Early Years Manager and the total amount available for this work is £2,500. 

The freelancer will need to have: 

  • In depth experience of developing and leading learning activities for families and children.
  • Experience of working with families from diverse, hard-to-reach audiences. 
  • Excellent communication and collaborative working skills.
  • An understanding of the national curriculum for science in KS1 and 2.
  • An understanding of Science Capital principals, science learning and evaluation.
  • An enthusiasm for nature, conservation, and plant science.
  • A willingness to learn about Kew’s science, collections, and horticulture.
  • Some experience of co-curating learning sessions with community partners. 
  • Experience of creating and evaluating learning activities.

Project timescales: 

Sessions will run on the third Saturday of the month in Kew’s Davies Exploration House (a well-ventilated venue with plenty of space for social distancing).

February – Planning and development
March – Sign off content
April – Launch Science Club at Kew’s Community Open Week
May to July – Deliver monthly sessions
September – Deliver co-curated session at Kew’s Science Festival

How to apply: 

To apply for this freelance work, please send your CV, two relevant examples of learning materials you have produced and a covering letter with no more than 250 words stating why you wish to apply, to the Family and Early Years Manager at [email protected] stating Saturday Science Club application in the heading. The deadline for applications is midday 31 January 2021

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