Harlow sisters create fun summer learning experience to help kids let off ‘STEAM’

TWO sisters from Harlow have created an exciting virtual home learning experience to help youngsters work off ‘STEAM’ over the summer holidays.

Sally and Georgia Hardcastle are the creatives behind Matipo, a multi arts company which has launched a free, fun programme of online activities for 5-11 year-olds to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) through the sisters’ specialised subject – the Arts.

Children and their families will be able to delve into the natural world, discover outer space, find out about food, transport and more through the daily ‘STEAM On!’ art and drama activities, designed to keep youngsters entertained and connected during the summer.

The initiative is part of Essex 2020, a year-long celebration of science and creativity across the county, which has part funded STEAM On! to make delivery possible.

Talking about the project, performance designer Sally Hardcastle said: “My sister and I were both home schooled by our parents through choice but over the last few months many parents and carers have been thrown into the same position.

“When learning is relaxed and fun it’s far more palatable so we’ve used our creative skills to bring STEM aspects of the Key Stage 2 curriculum to life – much like hiding vegetables in bolognese sauce so the kids don’t know they’re there!

“It’s all about capturing children’s imagination by doing something fun and taking that opportunity to create a learning experience.”

The STEAM On! activities are available now via the Essex 2020 website and children can also share their creations through an online gallery. Matipo aims to ensure the sessions are open to all so the materials used for activities are commonly found around the house.

Sally Hardcastle continues: “Essex 2020 is a wonderful initiative which literally puts the Arts right in the middle of STEM. Creative thinking and problem solving are skills used by artists and scientists in equal measure. By combining the two, we hope to give children something entertaining to do over the holidays while getting them ready to go back to physical classrooms in September.”

Councillor Dick Madden, Cabinet Member for Essex 2020, Essex County Council, added: “Essex 2020 and many of the exciting STEAM related events and learning which make up the programme, have employed their own creative thinking over recent weeks to transition online.

“Matipo is one of a number of fantastic Essex projects to have received Essex 2020 funding to help achieve this. As a result, these imaginative learning experiences can now be enjoyed by families across Essex and beyond.”

Throughout August, Essex 2020 is celebrating ‘Pioneering Essex Women’ past and present and will be calling on residents to nominate inspiring local female champions to join the Essex 2020 ‘Hall of Fame’. Find out more by following Essex 2020 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit www.essex2020.com

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