OUR Lady of the Rosary School, Kenmore, is at the forefront of the STEM evolution overtaking primary schools.
With STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) identified by the Federal Government as an area for future growth and innovation, the school opened a dedicated lab at the beginning of the year.
Since then one in five students has been involved in the school’s extracurricular STEM and Coding Clubs, run by volunteer parents and teachers
Late last year Australia’s chief scientist Professor Ian Chubb released a position paper urging primary schools to embrace the digital technology age. In it he wrote: “In a rapidly changing world, increasingly dependent on science, technology and mathematics, we need to be producing students with a high level of literacy in these areas – the keys to the future.”
“It all starts in primary schools,” he wrote.
As part of the school’s STEM and Coding Clubs, students have an opportunity to engage creatively with various cutting-edge resources, including the popular Dash and Dot robots and LittleBits Electronics that make simple circuits with lights and buzzers.
They also learn engineering concepts through tower-building competitions and creating various structures and machines.
The open-ended nature of the tasks and engaging resources tapped directly into a child’s innate curiosity and creativity while teaching them about the technology which drives our world.
The Coding Club also gave students the opportunity to progress at their own pace and level through various structured coding platforms.
“It’s amazing how intuitive this is for kids; even my Year 1 daughter can write a simple computer program,” Parents’ and Friends’ president Merlijn Nicholson said.
Principal Andrew Oberthur said through the support of the school and parent body, all students from all grades had the opportunity to participate at no cost.
“We aim to prepare our students for the future by engaging them in learning experiences in areas that provide a foundation for the challenges and opportunities they will face as they get older,” he said.
Year 6 teacher Ryan Edney has stepped up as the school’s STEM champion and, together with the rest of the dedicated staff, was exploring the best way of incorporating STEM into the classroom at all year levels.