Kids for Inquiry was founded in June 2012 by then 8 year old Ben Ryder who heard about all the interesting things that the Okanagan branch of CFI Canada was doing and he thought that kids should have a CFI group especially for them — and so KFI was born!
We at CFI Canada would like to see Kids for Inquiry eventually spread to all branches of CFI Canada. It’s an important way for us to fulfil our educational mission.
In the experience of the Okanagan branch, KFI attracts a broad range of families, in addition to the children of CFI supporters and members. Most significantly, KFI has attracted families who would otherwise be uninterested in CFI activities. For example, one family that frequently attends KFI Okanagan activities are devout Catholics. The parents are uninterested in CFI activities for themselves, but they do support their children’s interest in science. In another family, the parents own an alternative medicine clinic, and they are not interested in CFI activities for themselves — but, again, they support their children’s interest in science. In cases such as these, we hope that KFI is a positive contribution to these kids’ science education and critical thinking skills.
Kids for Inquiry focuses on science and skepticism. Importantly, we stay away from religious topics. This is for a number of reasons. We don’t want to alienate parents who might otherwise want to get their families involved. Religious parents simply wouldn’t bring their kids! We think it’s more important that we excite a child’s interest in science and contribute to their critical thinking skills, than that we make what is bound to be a vain attempt to challenge their family’s religious beliefs. We also don’t think we should be putting children in the uncomfortable position of having their family’s religious beliefs challenged by strangers, when children are not in a position to fully evaluate those religious beliefs. If, however, their critical thinking skills are transferable — from evaluating the evidence for the existence of Big Foot to evaluating the evidence for the existence of God — that would be a positive “side effect”. We do hope that, one day, we will be able to set up a Teens for Inquiry group, and we think that religious topics will be fair game for that age group.
We try to keep our KFI events as low cost as possible (usually free, with donations gratefully accepted) in order to make sure that kids from low income families are able to attend. Please help us to spread the word to engage families in your community!