Creativity Clubs: Introduction

Creativity Clubs was a STEM Outreach project developed by Success4All and NUSTEM, which ran from September 2021 to August 2022.

Success 4 All ran the after-school club for children aged 4-7 years old in a North East Community Centre, Meadow Well Connected over the course of a year.  Each week children would explore STEM topics linked to the science and technology of the STFC through a series of hands-on investigations and linked children’s books. The STEM topics included were:

  1. Astronomy and Space
  2. Environmental Science
  3. Engineering
  4. The Human Body
  5. Materials Science
  6. Energy

Within each topic, there were a number of core planned activities:

  • A variety of age-appropriate hands-on science experiments and demonstrations.
  • A book which explored science linked to the STEM topic.
  • A copy of the book for each child to keep.
  • At-home activities to encourage children and their families to explore the science further after the club.

Alongside the scientific content, Creativity Clubs also incorporated the Skills Builder framework into the project delivery. This was used to further develop the children’s STEM skills. The skills used were: listening, speaking, creativity, problem solving, and team work.

Project Learning

We have outlined our key learning in our report of the project: Creativity Clubs: Delivering equitable and effective STEM engagement in community settings.

In this report we reflect on the ways the programme adapted to allow young children, and their families, to successfully engage with science and technology in a relaxed, age-appropriate manner. The report lays out our prior assumptions when setting up the programme, the adaptations we made to it when delivered, and the result these adaptations had on the engagement of children and families with the club.

We also give four recommendations for others developing community STEM engagement:

  • Build in time to work with community centres at the design stage
  • Investing in positive relationships with children provides a foundation for successful work
  • Outreach and engagement should be responsive to children’s needs and interests
  • Evaluation outcomes, strategies and instruments may need to be adapted to respond to project changes and stakeholder needs.

The full report can be read here.

Partners and Acknowledgments

Success4All is a North East educational charity established in 2006, that aims to prepare children and young people for a brighter future. We support schools and communities by providing educational support for families, extra-curricular after-school clubs and projects for schools, summer schools and holiday activities. Over the last 5 years, we have built upon our established work in schools and communities to provide practical, enquiry-based and collaborative opportunities for children and young people to explore and investigate STEM subjects. This includes our STEM Challenge programme for schools, and STEM, Creativity and Code Clubs for communities.

Creativity Clubs were funded through a Science and Technology Facilities Council Spark Award (STFC) (ST/W002027/1). These awards fund projects focusing on areas of science within the remit of STFC and are open to a wide range of organisations. The fund encourages ‘novel approaches’ to engagement and audience. Creativity Clubs was also part of the STFC’s Wonder initiative, tailored to reach under-served communities with STFC science and technology, with the focus on working with people and reflecting on their needs and requirements for meaningful engagement.

I’m going to do the activity at home tonight. My dad’s really looking forward to doing it together