Last week, the Day Camp class of 2012 successfully completed a programme of astronomy-themed activities, organised by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNAWE, in collaboration with the science communication company SterrenLab. The idea behind the IAU/UNAWE Day Camp was to combine professional childcare support for delegates at the IAU General Assembly (IAU GA) with a rich programme of educational astronomy activities for their children.
One of the children at the Day Camp, Jade (age 5), was proud to say that both her “mummy and daddy are astronomers”. Jade’s parents, Wynn Ho and Karen Masters, also registered her younger brother, Gian, in the Day Camp.
“It's much easier and simpler to travel alone to attend conferences, but that means only one of us can attend the meetings,” said Masters. “So, particularly for these big conferences, having other options is fantastic.” In addition to the convenience of on-site childcare, Masters says her children felt like they were participating in the conference because the activities were astronomy-themed.
Masters also commented on the cultural aspects of the Day Camp: “The children might already know a bit about Chinese astronomy, but not a lot, so we were doubly happy that they get the chance to learn a bit more about this part of their background.”
Cristina Olivotto, Day Camp coordinator, commented: “These children clearly knew a lot more about astronomy than most children of their age.” Yet, the children still took a lot away from the experience. For example, Leah (age 11), visited a planetarium for the first time in one of the Day Camp excursions, as there aren’t any close to where she lives.
The organisers plan to run another IAU/UNAWE Day Camp at the 29th IAU GA in Hawaii, USA. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- IAU/UNAWE Day Camp video by Beijing Science Video: http://www.bjscivid.org/html/2012/guonei_0824/9431.html