A trial of a new educational magazine created by Brunel University London’s Professor Valsa Koshy has helped West London children discover and develop their talents, both at school and at home, and has been resoundingly endorsed by their teachers.
Eureka Explorers has been trialled with more than a thousand children aged 7 to 11 years and their parents, through schools local to the Uxbridge-based university. Bright and packed with activities, the colourful 36-page printed magazine covers a broad range of topics, including creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, mathematics, reasoning, health and wellbeing.
The magazine is the latest initiative led by Prof Koshy, who has more than 30 years’ experience of talent development and an MBE for her distinguished contribution to education, including for recognising and fulfilling submerged talent of students living in challenging circumstances – such as through the Brunel Young Scholars Programme. And it’s through Young Scholars, of which she was founding director, that Eureka Explorers has been made available as a classroom resource for primary schools.
“Everyone has talents, be they academic, artistic, interpersonal, in sports or more practical,” said Prof Koshy. “However, not everyone knows what their talent is.
“As a society we need to do more to develop children’s talents, wellbeing and skills to prepare them for success in life. Eureka Explorers has been designed to give children opportunities to find and then develop their special interests and abilities.”
Prof Koshy retired from her full-time university research role in 2017, but has channelled her experience and energy into finding likeminded UK-based education academics and commercial partners to design and develop the magazine. The academics work voluntarily and without any payment to ensure Eureka Explorers’ high quality and to keep costs down, to make the magazine available to more children.
The Year 5 students Daisy Newell teaches at Oldfield Primary School in Ealing are fascinated by Eureka Explorers, and often ask if they can read it or complete the activities. “As a teacher, I feel the way this magazine has been designed is genius,” she said. “It’s educational and links well to the National Curriculum. The design and layout mean children view it as a journey with puzzles, stories and activities – not just a booklet to study.”
One of the delighted children commented “The magazine was amazingly fun! My imagination went wild and the facts were awesome!”.
Drawing on Prof Koshy’s wealth of experience, the magazine offers a range of activities to encourage children to display their own natural talents.
In a discussion during a school visit, 7-year-old Liam was fascinated by how number patterns grow. “Being asked to continue the pattern 3, 6, 9, 12, …, Liam filled in the missing numbers,” Prof Koshy explained. “Within 2 minutes, he said ‘If you go on growing this pattern it will give you 60, if you go on for 20 times’. Liam had just shown his exceptional ability to generalise mathematical rules and offer proof.”
Prof Koshy has met many parents who were surprised to find out their children’s particular interest. For example, after engaging with the magazine, Natasha, then aged 8 years, wrote, ‘I want to be a palaeontologist because I would love to find out about the past and fossils’ – and this prompted a personal project.
The magazines feature the work of children in participating schools. The first issue is available for sale from the Eureka Explorers website. Future issues will be available to order after the end of the current pilot.
Prof Koshy would like to make the magazine available to more children in more schools and is looking to create partnerships with charities, schools, trusts and universities. “My dream for the future is to scale up our programme nationally,” she said. “We will need the help of generous sponsors, so that the magazine becomes available to children who can’t afford it and can now only dream about educational magazines they see in shops. Children’s ambitions shouldn’t be determined by their parents’ circumstances!”
The expansion of the magazine’s reach will build on the success of the Brunel-led Young Scholars Programme, which has recently been shortlisted for the 2023 Triple E Global Award for the EDI Community Engagement Initiative of the Year.
Amanda Hall, Associate Director of Marketing and Recruitment at Brunel, said: “The Young Scholars Programme makes a real difference to children’s life chances by developing talents and aspirations from a young age. Universities have an important role to play in working with schools and parents to encourage more young people from all backgrounds to aspire to university. This programme plants the seed early so more children can succeed in their ambitions for the future.”
Issue 1 of Eureka Explorers can be ordered from www.eurekaexplorers.co.uk
Joe Buchanunn, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 268821 email@example.com