About the Project
A child’s early years are widely regarded to be the most important in their development and education. The idea behind EU-UNAWE is to educate children aged 4-10 years (especially those from underprivileged communities) in astronomy, because it embodies a unique combination of scientific and cultural aspects:
- Our awe-inspiring universe captures the imagination of children, making it a great stepping-stone to introducing youngsters to science and technology. Indeed, many scientists can trace their interest in science to a moment as a young child when they were first introduced to the wonders of the cosmos.
- Considering the vastness and beauty of the universe and our place within it provides a special perspective that can help broaden the mind and stimulate a sense of global citizenship and tolerance.
- Create an international network
Although UNAWE was founded only five years ago, it is already active in 54 countries and comprises a global network of over 500 astronomers, teachers and other educators. The international network provides a platform for sharing ideas, best practices and resources between educators from around the world. The network will also be used to run ambitious global projects, with the aim of broadening children’s horizons beyond their local area and to show them that they are part of a global community.
- Organize teacher-training sessions
A particularly important goal of EU-UNAWE is to provide training activities for teachers and other educators of young children. EU-UNAWE aims to give teachers the confidence to introduce astronomy and other science topics in the classroom, and to create innovative methods for engaging young children in astronomy. To achieve this goal, EU-UNAWE will organize teacher-training workshops and advertise other relevant training opportunities on the EU-UNAWE website.
- Develop educational resources
Learning should be exciting and fun – and this is never truer than when dealing with young children. EU-UNAWE encourages learning through play and hands-on activities, such as the inflatable UNAWE Earthball, which has been immensely popular.
EU-UNAWE is currently developing new resources, including an astronomy news service for children, called Space Scoop, which is produced in partnership with the European Southern Observatory. The idea behind Space Scoop is to share with children the excitement that the latest scientific discoveries bring, and to demonstrate that there is still much to learn about the universe – research that they could contribute to in the future. Space Scoop is also great a resource for teachers, acting as a focus for a classroom discussion.