Biology. Chemistry. Physics. Sounds like a really exciting time, huh? Growing up, we all dreaded the science fair, but one Brooklyn mom is changing the way we look at science.
Carmen Castillo-Barrett, or “Ms. Carmen,” as she’s called by her students, is the creator of Kiddie Science, a dynamic new program for children. The New York city teacher and mom of two is working to plant seeds of learning and create a love of science in NYC’s kids.
Almost three years old, Kiddie Science works with city schools to “bring high quality science enrichment programming to children” with cool experiments and field trips. A science teacher for sixteen years, Ms. Carmen developed a passion for teaching young learners. What started in 2013 with “Science Saturdays” and a group of just eleven students has grown into a hands on, interactive science program that the whole family can get involved in.
The DJ and The Emcee, only 2 and 4, have made “magic” with milk, taken a trip to the planetarium, and even learned how electricity works. They (and DaddyVents) are also the faces of Kiddie Science’s August newsletter–check them out on the Kiddie Science Facebook page.
Believing that every child is a natural born scientist, Kiddie Science works with kids and families of various ages. Ms. Carmen says that she loves working with 2-8 year olds, because “they’re open to it all. They’re not intimidated and have the curiosity of science.” In fact, the youngest Kiddie Science students were just 20 months old, and participated in a year long program. “They don’t fully understand the terminology, but they do understand the process of being a scientist.”
Careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are on the rise. The U.S. Bureau of Labor’s statistics show that STEM jobs are projected to grow to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022–and the median salary is almost $76,000. Ms. Carmen has worked with both preschoolers and high school students, and says that as children get older, their interest in science begins to drop. “They see the world in black and white. Science becomes too hard or boring.” That’s why it’s important to develop your child’s natural curiosity and science skills at an early age.
You can begin cultivating a love for science with your children at home . Ms. Carmen suggests getting hands on and dirty! Making slime with cornstarch and water is a great way to introduce toddlers to being young scientists.
Kiddie Science offers programs for the whole family. Science at Lark, Science at Play Kids, and Science in the Garden take place during the week, and are appropriate for kiddie scientists ages 2.5-5. Science Saturdays, Kiddie Science’s original program, is for scientists ages 5-8. Pop Up Science, a free, theme based workshop, and Science for the Family welcome scientists of all ages (including moms and dads!). Find out more at www.kiddiescience.org, and let Ms. Carmen know you heard about it on MyMommyVents!