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Forscherwelt/Researchers' World

How to encourage children to take up science? Get them started young! A love of science starts in childhood. Through Henkel’s “Forscherwelt,” (Researchers’ World) education initiative, children discover the thrill of scientific experimentation. Children become researchers and get a playful introduction to science’s secrets. The initiative’s patron is Dr. Simone Bagel-Trah, Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board and the Shareholders’ Committee at Henkel. The international education initiative is looking back at five successful years. Around 10,000 children have already taken part in the initiative around the world, discovering scientific secrets by conducting over 33,000 experiments. 

Infographic: Forscherwelt

The "Forscherwelt" concept

In 2011, Henkel set up a dedicated “Forscherwelt” center in Düsseldorf that is tailored to children’s needs. In this safe area, children can take on the role of a researcher. “Forscherwelt” has a different setup from a conventional school science lab in that it is only used for a couple of hours at a time. At “Forscherwelt” there is an experimentation zone, a rest area and designated space for exercise and discussion. A spatial concept creates an atmosphere in which the children can feel at ease and enjoy an ideal environment for learning through play. “Forscherwelt” is being established internationally at selected Henkel sites and schools under its slogan of “Act like a scientist.” Forscherwelt courses have been held regularly at the Experimentanium, a science museum for children in Moscow, since 2014. The Forscherwelt teaching materials are recognized by the Russian Ministry of Education. Forscherwelt activities have also been taking place in Argentina, Turkey and Ireland, where specially trained employees have been visiting schools and conducting experiments with children in the classroom.

Varied opportunities for children and teachers

At "Forscherwelt" children have the chance to conduct their first scientific experiments. The experiments touch upon the topics of glue, washing/cleaning, cosmetics, and sustainability. Kids can ask experts questions and gain insight into how research is conducted. The educational concept of "Forscherwelt" was developed by Prof. Dr. Katrin Sommer, Chair of Chemistry Didactics at Ruhr-University Bochum. During the school year, Henkel offers four elementary schools a nine-part teaching program at "Forscherwelt" every half year. Henkel employees’ children have the opportunity to take part in a one-week vacation course offered four times a year. Continuing professional development courses for teachers also take place at "Forscherwelt" on a regular basis.

Henkel brings ‘Forscherwelt’ education initiative to Tallaght, Ireland

The educational concept is not tied to these premises, however: Forscherwelt is now being established internationally at selected Henkel sites and schools under the motto “Forscherwelt to go”. Since 2014 the initiative has been rolled out to Russia, Argentina, Turkey and now in Irland. In June 2015 Henkel has launched its global educational initiative – Forscherwelt (researchers World) in Tallaght, Ireland

The team at Henkel Tallaght opened its doors to Citywise Education, the locally based programme that provides young people with after-school and out-of-school educational support, for a day of fun learning and experiments. Ireland is the fourth country to roll out this initiative. Back in May, Dr Ute Krupp, who leads Forscherwelt,travelled to Ireland to train 20 employees. They learnt a series of experiments that they could teach school children to introduce them to science.

The day long activity, in partnership with Citywise Education, saw 25 school children come to Tallaght to be taught simple science experiments.

Portrait of Dr. Simone Bagel-Trah

Interview with Dr. Simone Bagel-Trah, patron of the Forscherwelt initiative

Five years after the launch of the international education initiative Forscherwelt, Dr. Simone Bagel-Trah talks about the importance of education in science and explains what makes Henkel’s Forscherwelt so special.

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