Mental Health is a Universal Human Right (WHO 2023)
October 10th 2023 is World Mental Health Day a chance for people and communities to focus on the theme ‘Mental health is a universal human right”. It is a chance for all of us to improve our knowledge, raise awareness and promote everyone’s mental health as a universal human right.
So, what’s that got to do with science clubs?
More than you might think actually. Research (1&2) has shown that taking part in extra-curricular activities can significantly boost children’s mental health, giving them increased social opportunities, raising self-esteem and resilience while giving them opportunities to develop knowledge, skills and understanding beyond the structured curriculum.
Opportunities to continue learning in a more relaxed environment and follow specific areas of interest while working with their peers creates a positive experience for children.
For many children a science, or STEM, club offers them the opportunity to explore what they are passionate about in the company of others who share their interests. They also offer the adult running the club the chance to do exciting science, often beyond the scope of the curriculum, with children who are totally engaged in the activities.
From personal experience, 12+ years of running a variety of science and STEM clubs for different ages, it gave me the opportunity to engage with enthusiastic children through a variety of activities that we wouldn’t usually get to do in class. I got a huge amount of pleasure from all the science clubs that I ran over the years and it was always a highlight of my week.
My Science Club’s resources are deliberately designed to reduce any preparation time for the educator while providing hands on, engaging activities for the children covering a wide range of contexts. Sessions are designed to give children opportunities to work collaboratively, question, discuss and share, all of which support developing important social skills.
At My Science Club we passionately believe that being part of extracurricular activities with friends has a huge positive impact on children’s mental health.