Within the walls of the Junior School classrooms, you will quickly discover a culture that values curiosity, collaboration, independence and the search for understanding. For at Carey, we don’t simply want to pass on knowledge and facts, we want to foster a deep joy for learning and exploring how and why the world works.
This belief of ours drives our decision to integrate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education through the lens of an inquiry disposition. At times, subject specific skills and knowledge are required to be developed and, at other times, students need the space, time and opportunity to experience STEAM as meaningful integrated subjects that work seamlessly together.
It isn’t uncommon to hear words such as ‘Maker Space’, ‘Code Club’, or ‘STEAM Project Day’ as we seek to foster and cultivate a passion in our students for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. However, at Carey these commonly known words are purely our starting place, for at Carey JS STEAM, education is part of a much larger story.
All learning opportunities are nestled in specifically curated environments designed to build upon prior knowledge and facilitate new growth: from wall displays that promote discussion and capture student learning, to strategically selected incursions that seek to spark further imagination or unify concepts previously explored, and to the placement of rich provocations and the meaningful use of technology to provide immediate and broad collaboration. STEAM education provides the vehicle for deep, meaningful and inspiring learning opportunities.
As I look back across the quickly disappearing year, I reflect on the varied experiences learners have had to participate in both stand-alone and integrated STEAM experiences. These opportunities have brought students great joy, knowledge and enthusiasm towards their learning.
I recall how the Prep students investigated how and why objects moved and excitedly shared their knowledge of toys. How the Year 2 students worked collaboratively to create a Rube Goldberg machine to meet specific criteria. How the Year 3 students carefully gardened, cooked and ate over the course of their Kitchen Garden program, whilst simultaneously learning about science, technology and mathematics. How the Year 4 students acquired expertise in the most appropriate material to use when designing and making a blanket to keep someone without shelter warm at night. How the Tinker Tech lunchtime club inspired students to persist in designing a bridge for a programmed Bee-bot to safely travel across. The focus, determination, expertise, and skill developed across these experiences and many more across our school are testaments to the power of STEAM education.
At Carey Junior School, we believe that STEAM education is more than a program or a subject, it is a way of thinking, imagining and solving problems which sees the skills and knowledge of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics as more powerful when combined together. With so much uncertainty about what the future will look like, one thing I know for certain is that the skills, knowledge and dispositions fostered through STEAM education are equipping our students with the assets they will need to face new challenges that arise and, most importantly, boldly create the future.
Deputy Head of Junior School Kew – Student Learning