Beechboro Christian School is one of ten schools in WA, and the only in the Swan Valley area, to be selected for the Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) Pilot, commencing in 2018.
ELSA is a play-based digital learning program to introduce children in kindergarten to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Principal of Beechboro Christian School and Ellenbrook Christian College, Mr Justin Krause, welcomed the announcement.
“Almost weekly, we see news articles and studies promoting the importance of learning in STEM areas,” said Mr Krause.
“We are glad that this program will provide an additional route for us to introduce STEM concepts to our students, from Kindergarten onwards.
“The school has provided technology to embrace new learning opportunities for many years, and school-provided iPads are another tool that teachers can harness to promote problem solving and inquiry”, he said.
ELSA apps will encourage active play that supports STEM practices, such as exploring location, patterns, and problem solving.
Staff at Beechboro Christian School will undergo training throughout Term 4, 2017 prior to commencement of the programme in class from 2018.
The school’s Curriculum Coordinator, Mrs Liana Luyt, said that STEM is more than just a combination of subjects.
“It is the concentrated learning of computational, critical thinking and problem solving skills, which are vital in the modern day workforce”, she said.
“This Pilot will assist us in teaching these skills in the Early Years; effectively establishing a solid foundation.
“We are really excited for the possibilities this will provide our students”, she said.
Federal Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the announcement of the start of the new ELSA pilot coincided with National Literacy and Numeracy Week kicking off for 2017.
“We want to help children explore new ideas and skills in science, technology, engineering and maths that will in turn boost their literacy and numeracy,” Minister Birmingham said.
“This new $6 million program will give our littlest learners the opportunity to develop numeracy skills and scientific curiosity that will set them up for the rest of their schooling.
“Our new ELSA pilot introduces science, technology, engineering and maths skills at the right level for preschoolers. That means helping them develop a wide range of skills including sorting and matching while also learning about numbers and patterns.
“With employment trends showing 75 per cent of Australia’s fastest-growing careers demand skills in digital literacy and STEM, it is critical that the natural curiosity of children is encouraged early in their development.
“Lifelong learning begins from the youngest years and this is about making science fun and accessible no matter the skill level of preschoolers, educators or even families”, he said.
Minister Birmingham’s quotes published in Press Release dated 3 September 2017, available in full at https://ministers.education.gov.au/birmingham/science-skills-key-literacy-numeracy-push