Jessica Okoro has long held a desire to get children excited about learning and to change any thoughts that science isn’t fun. This passion has led her to set up BeScience STEM, a UK based social enterprise, which creatively explores STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) within the community for children from 5 years upwards.
BeScience STEM’s work is done in the community through their LibraryLAB sessions and runs alongside the National Curriculum through their STEM Juniors programme. They provide extra resource to make learning STEM subjects more relatable, visual and creative than can be achieved in a classroom environment.
The BeScience STEM programme has already been recognised by the Prime Minister, who praised Jessica’s creativity and passion for science and education:
Prime Minister Theresa May; “Your innovative interventions demonstrate that science can be creative and fun.”
BeScience STEM involves a varied range of inspiring programmes and events to cater to different age groups and interests. The programmes are accessible to everybody, with a large number of their participants coming from home schooled families as well as across the community. Their LibraryLAB programme visits community libraries in areas across the UK, and explores STEM subjects using tried and tested methods that are both fun and engaging for the young people and their families. The 2016 LibraryLAB pilot tour visited 7 libraries and had a great turnout of more than 500 attendees in total, ranging from 3-60+ years old.
Jessica is also keen to ensure that BeScience STEM provides an early intervention through their STEM Juniors club, which is another strand of their BeScience STEM programme, and provides a weekly fun club for children aged from just 5 years old. Running alongside the National Curriculum but with content that is fun and relevant to everyday life, as well as projects and experiments to take home and enjoy, Jessica hopes to inspire youngsters from an early age and make STEM subjects enjoyable and fun for them and their families.
The cost of taking part in the sessions is nominal and is designed to be inclusive across all levels of the community. With sessions also running throughout the school term-time and during the holidays children can continue learning in a fun environment at the BeScienceSTEM Holiday Camps outside of term time.
Last week, the BBC launched their Terrific Scientific initiative, which followed the research that fewer than 15% of 10-14 year olds aspire to pursue a career as a scientist, leaving the UK with a potential skills shortage. Through the set-up of BeScience STEM, Jessica is determined to get children enjoying science again. One of the main issues schools face are regarding resources and capacity and BeScience STEM’s extra-curricular programmes are designed to alleviate this.
Jessica Okoro, Founder of BeScience STEM, commented, “I initially set up BeScience STEM as a fun way for people to learn within their communities. The statistic that only 15% of 10-14 year olds wish to pursue a career in the sciences demonstrates that many feel disconnected from the subjects and our aim is to reignite their interest through early intervention, fun and relevant learning. Our STEM Juniors club aims to excite children from as young as 5 years old about these subjects and provide a fun environment for extracurricular learning.”
BeScience STEM was trialled in Leicester and will receive a soft regional roll out in 2017 before a national roll out in 2018. BeScience STEM also received support from The Crucible Project, De Montfort University’s business start-up and incubation programme, who they continue to work with.
Percy Emmett Independent Business Consultant and Lead Trainer and Mentor for The Crucible Project, added, “BeScience STEM has been such a success since launching into the community in 2016. Jessica has developed a fantastic programme of learning for a wide range of individuals and this recent research demonstrates just how much we need social enterprises such as BeScience STEM to help keep the next generation engaged in these subjects.”
Simon Baines, De Montfort University’s Innovation Centre Manager said: “Through Crucible, we have seen Jessica develop personally from an enterprising graduate to an inspirational business woman. Jessica is a joy to work with and De Montfort University are thrilled to play such an important role in the development of BeScience STEM”.
For further information visit: www.bescience.org.uk