This talk was part of PSFK Conference SF 2012
As CEO of 826 National, Gerald Richards is always searching for new ways the get children interested in the process of learning. According to him, the key to successful teaching is through a creative and fun environment, where the material can be easily accessed and is understandable to kids. 826 National has several locations throughout the US, which are a blend of storefront and tutoring center. The shops have quirky fun themes such as the ‘Superhero Supples Store’, or the ‘Pirate Supplies Store’, and kids have to walk through the shop to get to the tutoring center in the back.
826 National has so far been highly successful in bringing creative writing to kids through its many tutoring centers.
Recently Richards has been using this model to address the problem of lessening interest in science education among kids in the US. In collaboration with a group of scientists, 826 debuted a pilot workshop created to provide fun and accessible science education for kids. After only the first project, 826 saw a 10% increase in students who said they thought they could do well in science – 76% said they liked science more than before they had taken the class and another 78% said that they realized they were better at science than they thought. This model of teaching shows an exciting new approach to getting kids interested in the sciences at a young age.