Our guest reviewer Charlotte and her mini Mumbler recently went along to Mini Professors; offering fun and enjoyable science classes for preschool children. Find out what they thought here…
Mini Professors is the first science program that has been designed specifically for preschool children. As part of the WOW group that delivers the popular Baby Sensory and Toddler sense, it is dedicated to supporting learning and development, with over 70 different topics spanning a 2year period. As Emily is becoming more curious about the world, this class sounded like the perfect choice to gain a better understanding of all thing’s science.
Each session follows the same format, with two hands-on experiments, a story and a 2-minute video about the topic of the day, as well as the Mini Professor theme tune. The Mini Professors wear their own mini lab coats, have a Professor name tag, and a Science Log to fill in at the end of each week to document their learning progress.
We were warmly greeted by Caroline in her white lab coat. Emily was a little hesitant at first but quickly warmed to the idea of putting on her very own lab coat and Professor badge. Whilst everyone filtered in, we were encouraged to sit on the mini-bug mats and choose a story to read. We chose ‘Bird Builds a Nest’, which had additional scientific information included to further explain concepts such as force; in particular pulling and gravity.
Once everyone was sat down, Caroline started the session, introducing the weekly theme; Chemical Reactions. But before we got stuck in, we sang the Mini Professor theme to the tune of ‘I’m a Little Teapot’:
Science is all around us
In everything we see
It’s in you and it’s in me
When we eat our dinner
Or look up to the stars
Science is fun, the best by far!
Caroline then delved into her bag to show lots of pictures of different chemical reactions, starting with one image of cake ingredients and another image of cupcakes. She explained, in simple terms, how a chemical reaction is something which starts of as one set of things and then transforms into something else, i.e. how separate ingredients mixed together and then baked become a cake.
After a few more examples, we moved over to the tray tables for our first experiment. Mixing vinegar with salt, we took a dirty penny and dipped it into the solution. We saw how the chemicals in the solution caused the penny to lose its dull appearance and become shiny again! Emily was fully engrossed in the experiment and loved mixing the solution and dipping the penny.
After a quick washing of hands, we went back to the mats to watch a video about Chemical Reactions; further explaining and demonstrating the transformation of different substances – Emily particularly loved watching the fireworks! Caroline then read us a story further reinforcing how Chemical Reactions occur in everyday life through a series of events.
For our second experiment, we put some vinegar into a bottle and attached a balloon filled with bicarbonate of soda over the neck. By lifting the balloon up and mixing the ingredients together, the chemical reaction caused the vinegar to foam up and create lots of bubbles and gas to inflate the balloon. All the children we mesmerised by this reaction, and Emily wanted to take her balloon bottle home.
To further whet our appetite, we were treated to a larger scale version of the second experiment outside, involving a bottle of fizz and seven Mentos – the results were epic! All the children, and the grown-ups, were very impressed. The class was rounded off with ‘Science is all around us’ once more and everyone filled in their Science Logs with the week’s theme sticker.
Classes are great to feed your child’s curiosity and further exploring the world around them by learning basic scientific principles through play. Caroline is very good at explaining the science, and the experiments are simple and easy to understand, with everyday materials to recreate at home to further reinforce learning. We left the class having learnt some new things and Emily was certainly keen to learn some more.
Mini Professors classes last 40 minutes are aimed at children aged 2-5 years and take place at the following times and locations:
Thursdays at 10.30am at The Old Stables, Adel, LS16 8DW.
Mondays at 9.45am at Holy Trinity Community Hall, Memorial Drive, LS6 4LF (starting in March)
Classes cost £7 per session when you book a full term, and Caroline is currently offering 3 for 2 taster sessions when you sign up, giving you a chance to decide whether this is the class for you. There is also a half price discount for siblings.