The Siemens Crystal and East London Children’s University Working together to develop FREE Family Workshops

Children and young people in East London have access to a range of projects aimed to promote social mobility and raise aspirations, our experience has highlighted that sometimes these opportunities are not taken up.  Early in 2017, we recognised that we need to promote a programme that inspires and reaches the whole family.  We pitched an idea to the Siemens Crystal, experts in sustainability and the environment, to create a range of family workshops, aimed at the whole family.

Our first joint workshop ‘Are you Keen to be Green’ looked at sustainability and the environment.  Children and their families were taken on a tour of the Siemens Crystal, we looked at all of the sustainable and environmental aspects taken into account when building the Crystal such as the living wall roof, the solar panels, the plants specifically chosen to maintain local wildlife and the electric car ports.

Children and their families were then set a competition to see who could build the most environmentally friendly house out of recycled materials.  We saw houses made from toilet rolls with silver foil to represent solar panels, flowers drawn around the ‘junk modelled’ houses and handmade electric car ports.  It was inspirational to see the families work together to create a model they were proud of and that had sparked conversation and thought.

‘I enjoyed making the houses and adding the foil, I liked riding the bikes to see how fast I could go – I was faster than my mum!’

Following on from this initial success, we launched ‘Cool Coding for Green Fingers’.  Children and their families were encouraged to use BBC Microbit to code a soil tester.  It was fascinating watching the children (who in this case were more technology aware) talk their families through the coding process, this embedded skills for the children whilst teaching new skills to their parents.  The soil testers were then used on a variety of materials to check if they worked – they did!  The testers showed a smiling face if the material didn’t need water and a sad face if water was required.  Include quotes from families.

Our experience has highlighted that families want to learn together, our FREE Family Workshops enable families to access opportunities that they can complete together.  Some of our families lack confidence to access opportunities in and around East London.  Our Workshops help overcome these confidence issues, and promote a positive, can do attitude.  We are keen to continue offering our FREE Family Workshops and are looking to work with more organisations in East London, if this is something you would like to consider get in touch!

For further information please contact Jessica Worf, East London Children’s University Manager –