Super Connect for Good 2021 Scaleup Spotlight exclusive: Kide Science

As we celebrate the success of Empact Ventures' 2021 Super Connect for Good competition in partnership with Hays, we catch up with Jenni Vartiainen, Co-Founder of Kide Science.
As we celebrate the success of Empact Ventures’ 2021 Super Connect for Good competition in partnership with Hays, we catch up with Jenni Vartiainen, Co-Founder of Kide Science.

Hays and Empact Ventures’ 2021 Super Connect for Good competition was a resounding success. The virtual final, which took place in November, saw the regional winners go head-to-head by pitching live for the Super Connect for Good 2021 Overall Champion. Jenni Vartiainen, Co-Founder of Kide Science, was crowned the D-A-C-H & Nordics regional winner. Kide Science is a research-backed, play-based STEAM education program for teachers of 3-to-8-year-old scientists everywhere.

Learning through play

At Kide Science, they have a pedagogical philosophy where they believe children learn best when they are allowed to play. Its approach emphasizes on creating playful situations with children taking up the roles of little scientists. Kide Science is as a company that helps teachers provide a high-quality play-based science education with young children between the ages three and eight years old. Kide Science’s lessons consist of interactive science play, which they call the hands-on, heads-on, hearts-on approach.

Vartiainen explained that Kide Science provides teachers with ready-made lesson plans that include a play script that shows teachers how to conduct imaginary play with children. Through this imaginary play, the children are also learning about science process skills while also starting their concept development at the same time. Vartiainen added, “in addition to lesson plans, we also provide our teachers with professional development opportunities such as online training.” By building up their skills, the teachers will better understand and how to do play-based science education.

One major milestone that they have reached recently is that very big and impactful companies have approached Kide Science and wanted to establish cooperation.With the pandemic, Kide Science has been able to conduct research that evidences its impact on children and their science education through play.

Thriving through Covid-19

While a massive change, luckily Kide Science adapted well during the Covid-19 pandemic. Vartiainen mentioned that they needed to revisit its pedagogical approach as the teachers were no longer in the room with the children, but behind a screen. She added that, “we created a new concept of how to do science education with young children in a remote setting and that was very successful that we also made study out of it.” Even through the lessons were remote, there was a high level of engagement from the children during these lessons.

The pandemic had a slight affect on Kide Science financially due to schools being closed and buying new products was at the bottom of their list. However, with schools opening up again, Vartiainen believes that the company will recover back to pre-Covid levels. The EdTech industry has learnt a lot throughout the pandemic which can now be integrated into the everyday teaching world.

If the industry is to go by what the World Health Organization has to say about future pandemics, it’s important to continue the use of various online teaching methods, such as webinars, virtual training, etc. Vartiainen stated that the industry “have learned that digital tools are really important and they can help learning.” She added that it’s not certain that this kind of global pandemic will be the last that we see.”

The Super Connect for Good 2021 competition

Vartiainen stated that “we wanted to participate in this competition because of the impact aspect of it that the people through this network are all like-minded with willingness to support impactful startups.”

She added, “we are thankful to be in such great company with other amazing startups and It means a lot to us that the importance of early childhood education is recognized. We hope this encourages other female-founded startups to make an impact by founding new ventures.”

About Jenni Vartiainen, Co-Founder of Kide Science

Ph.D. Jenni Vartiainen is the co-founder of Kide Science. She is also a researcher and holds a university lecturer position at the University of Helsinki. Her research interests are young children’s playful STEAM education and scientific literacy. In her research, Vartiainen has developed a play-based science education model for young children. The model combines play, stories, imagination, and early STEAM education. Vartiainen has published several scientific articles and also worked in the field of the popularization of science. She has written fictional science books for children, pedagogical guides for teachers and she has co-authored the manuscript for children’s science TV-show and acted in it.

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