WATCH: How one teacher is turning children in Istanbul into little scientists
When Zeynep Taskiran Yalcinkaya graduated from the chemistry department at her local university, she soon realised she didn't actually want to become a chemist. So instead she launched Miniskop – a science and art academy for kids that has since intrigued the minds of 35 000 little scientists.
Children are becoming scientists from as young as 4 years old in Istanbul, courtesy of Zeynep Taskiran Yalcinkara and Miniskop.
“One of the world’s most renowned biologists, (Francis) Crick asked his mother at an early age, ‘Mom, there will be nothing left to be discovered when I grow up. What am I going to discover?’ In fact, there are still thousands of things to be discovered. And we’re trying to plant this idea in the minds of children.” 

Zeynep Taskiran Yalcinkaya graduated from the chemistry department of Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul, but soon after realised that while she wanted to work with science and kids, she want to be neither a chemist nor a teacher. So instead, she decided to combine the two and launched Miniskop – a science and art academy for kids.

Miniskop offers basic science training for children between the ages 4 and 12 and, beyond theoretical knowledge, she encourages them to touch materials and physically making things, in a Montesorri way of teaching. The kids have made soap, learned how to code robots and explored the planets.

“We don’t want them to find space or science strange. Sometimes we ask them, ‘Kids, are the astronauts human?’ We’ve quite often gotten this answer, ‘No, they’re not’," says Zeynep in the TRT World video above.

“Why are we getting this answer? Because space is – especially in the minds of preschool children – an extremely utopian concept,” she explains. “We’re actually trying to get our kids out of this mindset.”

And it seems to be working, all the while having children fall completely in love with the subject.

“We always call the children ‘scientists’,” she says. “They’re exploring areas they’re good at, and they’ve realised their own abilities. On their way out, they give us feedback like, ‘Teacher, I am a scientist too’ or ‘I will become a scientist in the future’.”

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