Taking astronomy closer to learners
For John Kinyua, teaching astronomy has been his livelihood for some years now.
He has acquired a gadget called the planetarium to make his work easier. The planetarium can accommodate 40 students, each paying Sh500 for an hour’s training session.
“Helping children learn new things has been my greatest desire ever since I was in college. I always thought I could make the best out of my creative skills and make children enjoy while learning new things at the same time,” he said.
It was not easy setting up his business. Many parents were reluctant to let their children learn about planets and stars.
“I think they were confusing it with astrology which involves divination and the supernatural. They thought I was teaching their children some form of magic but as I continued to visit schools, teachers and parents began to accept the idea. Many have wholly embraced it,” he said.
Kinyua is popular in many private schools across the city especially in Westlands, Parklands, Lang’ata and parts of Eastlands.
He also visits children’s clubs and churches during weekends or when schools are on recess.
It took time for the business to pick up when he began in 2011.
Apart from using the planetarium, Kinyua has also composed and recorded children’s songs on DVD.
He says the songs make tackling mathematics problems much easier. He sings to the children during his training sessions and sells each DVD at Sh100.
“So far, I have sold more than 4,000 DVDs to parents and bookshops across the country,” he said.
He has employed the services of five other people to help him in teaching the children.
“The planetarium has changed my life completely,” he said.
He visits three schools every week.
Apart from astronomy, Kinyua offers counselling to the children.
The planetarium can create an illusion of night during the day, making it very easy for children to see and learn about stars, planets, moons, the solar system and galaxies.
Occasionally, Kinyua and his companions receive invitations to schools outside Nairobi especially in Nakuru, Mombasa and Thika.