At St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School, the Junior School leadership team is both deliberate and intentional in achieving a shared vision for STEM. Together with students and teachers, we are committed to our STEM vision statement:
“Prepare our girls for a complex, challenging and changing world that will require creative, global solutions”
To support this vision statement through to fruition, staff provide all our girls with innovative and authentic opportunities to observe, be immersed in, and to develop critical and creative thinking skills across STEM learning areas.
STEM Award for Excellence in Leadership
It was with great excitement that staff and students accepted the prestigious Governor’s STEM Award for Excellence in Leadership in November 2016.
This award celebrated the culmination of innovative teaching and learning programs that have been phased in over the last five years through explicit planning for Junior School priorities in the areas of Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics. The award highlighted the ‘team approach’ from dedicated staff members to plan and deliver STEM learning opportunities from Kindergarten through to Year 6.
STEM programs have become increasingly important as a ‘gateway’ into future careers. We believe it is vital to engage our students in STEM subjects, equipping them with the necessary learning tools to assist future employment in an ever-evolving workplace.
STEM embedded in the everyday
A key element in winning the Governor’s award was expressed during one of our Junior School STEM Days when the judges visited. Judges commented on how all our girls had access to STEM learning and not just a select few. They were extremely impressed to see STEM learning embedded in our ‘everyday’ programs as part of our normal school day.
Staff and students have worked collaboratively to develop our STEM vision in 2016 and are keen to share this information with other schools through mentoring partnerships in 2017.
Working towards future STEM initiatives, teachers will continue to be involved in global, professional capital through Harvard University’s Project Zero. Through this professional learning, teachers can access the most current pedagogy in STEM learning.
To increase our school’s digital ecosystem and heighten learning in STEM areas, we have explored innovative ideas to create blended learning spaces, crafted detailed strategic plans and planned access to high-quality digital resources to facilitate collaboration and planning. An example of this is our purpose-built Science Laboratory in the Junior School. This space not only lends itself to a new initiative in 2017 with the Scientist in Residence Program with Dr Tabitha Yngstrom, but is ideal for our growing Robotics and Engineering programs.
We have an exciting future ahead in STEM areas!
Geraldine Drabble will be speaking on ‘Embedding STEM – from the beginning’ at the Improving STEM Education conference in Melbourne this August. Book soon for early bird rates!