More than 250 primary-aged children have benefited from free hands-on engineering experiences since schools have been back for the spring term.
The Rochester Bridge Trust’s Education Team has been visiting local schools, hosting learning through play workshops for children in the early years foundation stage (EYFS) and up to Year 2 at primary school.
Education Officer Claire Saunders explains: “It’s been just over two weeks since schools restarted after the Christmas break and we’ve been fully-booked visiting education groups to run bridge building activities and inspire the next generation of engineers.
“People are often surprised to hear that we take our workshops to such young children, but this is the time when they are shaping their interests and beginning to understand how the world works – and are still innocent to the influences of stereotyping.”
The workshop begins with an introduction, during which the children are encouraged to imagine how much harder it would be if we didn’t have bridges and all the different modes of transport them, including trains, cars, delivery vans, bicycles and pedestrians.
Children then participate in fun activities where they are encouraged to engage in open play, using our personal protective equipment (PPE) dress up kit, construction straws and junk modelling blocks. Thinking like engineers (and wearing the right PPE!) the children use their creativity to design a building or structure using the straws or modelling blocks – just like a real civil engineer.
The last part of the workshop focuses on reading a story and the children are encouraged to spot bridges in real life, in books and even on television – to emphasise how civil engineers really do shape the world around us. In this term’s workshops the story read to the children is The Three Billy Goats Gruff, which is linked with learning how the bridge helps the goats to cross the river to reach the valley filled with food.
The schools visited by the Trust so far this term are: Burnt Oak Primary School, Gillingham; Davington Primary School, Faversham; St Margaret’s Infant School, Gillingham; and St Nicholas Infant School, Strood; as well as a Beaver Scout group from Sittingbourne.
To register an interest for a visit to your education group, please email email@example.com