Why STEAM matters?
Worldwide STEAM education is under-funded, under-resourced with regard to specialist skills, tools and equipment, appropriate and functional curricula, and continuity of education and engagement. Consequently the majority of our children, and indeed our society are poorly literate in these areas. In industry this manifests as a shortage of suitable STEM-enabled graduates. In society it manifests as disconnection from fundamental aspects of our lives, the world around us, the resources on which we depend, and critical engagement in planning our future.
Why Primary Schools
Research indicates that the optimum age for engagement with STEM subjects is between 9 and 13 years. This is when a child’s curiosity about the world they live is most active. There is a natural fascination with what makes their world turn and how everyday things work. This, coupled with a limitless imagination, can lead them into an exciting world of discovery and learning.
Research also shows that the younger the child the smarter the investment in education 1 , and that the effective introduction of STEM subjects at the right stage produces beneficial outcomes for STEM related industries, which can have a major impact on the socio-economic performance of the nation state.
Around Ireland, the US and Europe there are laudable programmes attempting to introduce STEM and Arts subjects to and engender enthusiasm in children for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Mainly these initiatives are aimed at second level, yet research is increasingly showing this as being too late along the child’s decision timeline. A child’s imagination is captured in primary school. Of those aimed at primary school most are sporadic, fragmentary and lack the persistence and continuity required to repair the system. Angela Lee Duckworth’s work at the University of Pennsylvania has underlined the importance of persistence and grit in education. The underlying principle of the STEAM approach is ‘persistence’. This is what distinguishes us from other STEM related offerings available. It isn’t a unique selling point of the programme; it is at its core.
We provide courses that address and enhance the school curricula, delivered by actual experts in each of the STEAM fields, throughout the primary teaching year. The courses are further supported by class teachers who reinforce the subject matter and carry it through into their broader teaching. We believe that we are addressing these needs and can provide a sustainable solution to these problems through the delivery of service.
We put real-life experts in primary classrooms week after week during the academic year, with specially designed tools & content for each lesson, to co-teach with the primary teacher. Professor Colette Murphy’s work on co-teaching science in primary schools shows that extraordinary results can be obtained through external specialists working closely with the normal classroom teacher.
This connects industry and third level institutions with schools to disseminate knowledge and leverage the capacity of our experts to enhance the education of our children and the capacity of our primary teachers.