Getting kids into repair (in schools?) (Exhibition space)

When & where?

:clock430: 16:45-17:30
:compass: Exhibition space

Reason for the session

We are old. Only the young can save us and the planet. How do we link with a younger generation? Schools? Scouts? Youtube?

Session outline


There was a lot of discussion about how difficult it is to get into schools, and whether groups should target primary or secondary schools.

@catherine_causley from Devon County: education advisors take children to incineration and recycling facilities - mostly primary schools. Catherine would like to get fixing volunteers (from Men’s Sheds, Repair Cafe, ?) into schools.

@Repair_Cafe_Glasgow will go into some schools over coming weeks to talk about their work, and needs tips and inspiration.

@Sarah_Maloy says she works in schools, and secondary schools are really difficult to get into. Everything has to be linked directly to curriculum.

We talked about, however, after school repair events could work especially if they engage parents. Some schools are “ready-made communities”, and these can be super successful.

Timing is everything: picking the right time for events, in terms of the school term.

We also talked about the pride of students in repairs and volunteering. Also giving back to the community can help with uni admissions.

Making repair events more kid-friendly

We talked about what we can immediately do to make repair events more kid-friendly. (We shared that most of us require kids to be accompanied by a guardian, and this can be a real barrier to teen participation.)

  • Keeping in mind that any new activity requires new volunteers at the event
  • Setting up separate activities for kids: testing batteries, fuses. Kids love to learn how to use multimeters, rewire plugs, and disassemble things
  • Joint project or creative projects at repair events, like sewing, quilting, and story-telling or drawing
  • Advertising about Repair Cafe in schools, school assemblies – using key dates Recycling
  • An example to learn from is Circular Cambridge’s “Junior Repair Cafes” which appear to be inspired by a Dutch version. Also @Club_de_Reparadores is starting its Liga de Menores (“Junior League”) in Buenos Aires, reaching out through schools.

Spaces outside of school / repair events

Youth / scouting, guides groups

Duke of Edinburgh

  • Youth confidence and leadership – making the links to community repair
  • Looking into getting Repair Cafe activity incorporated into awards
  • Prince’s Trust could also be a good link too

Bright ideas, worth following up:

  • What about The Big Draw-type week of repair-related activities
  • Linking repair to plastic waste campaigning, or the given environmental campaign of the day
  • Finding compelling narratives for kids is super important. Bringing numbers and the issue alive with stories. Example: “If Henry VIII had been put in disposable diapers, they would still not have decomposed”
  • Research projects for students or challenges like STEM. @Marie_Lefebvre gave an example of this.

About the facilitator(s)

@Janet help start The Restart Project. She’s led Restart’s initial attempts to work with schools. She is an auntie to two boys who think she is ancient.

@catherine_causley works for Devon County Council and she is passionate about this topic too.

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Thanks for sharing the animated and positive discussion we had @Janet. You are right, we need young people on board with their enthusiasm and zest for learning. Loved meeting you all and sharing ideas. Stay in touch.


In relation to this topic, our friends Fixperts shared the results of their which was a huge success

One of the secrets to running the camp was getting STEM ambassadors involved. I’m curious to know how many repairers out there are STEM ambassadors, and whether they could help deliver activities in schools?

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