Full STEAM ahead at Kadimah School

March 8, 2017 by Michelle Curran
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Auckland’s Kadimah School is about to become the first primary school in New Zealand to fully integrate the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, maths) approach into its curriculum, including Jewish Studies.

“This is what makes us unique,” Kadimah School principal Sue Meltzer says.

Kadimah students participating in the Epro8 competition in Auckland 2016

Integrating STEAM will prepare the students at the Auckland city school for their future lives in all areas, including their Jewish lives, Meltzer adds.
“By practicing the softer skills of STEAM including collaboration, confidence and a heavy emphasis on equality within the group and the importance of good communication, the children will be able to approach any project or inquiry with a set of skills they know how to follow and therefore end up with a satisfying outcome.”

In addition, the ability to be exposed to working with technology, robotics, engineering challenges, arts and maths programmes on a daily basis, creates a diverse pool of opportunities to suit and cater to every child and their preference – everyone has got the chance to excel in what they like, Meltzer adds.

The STEAM launch is scheduled for March 24, where Dr Michelle Dickinson – aka Nanogirl – will be the guest speaker.

Parents and other guests will hear how the benefits of integrating STEAM into the NZ Curriculum (NZC) are tenfold, but also how the teaching of the core subjects will not change, Meltzer adds.

“The students need to have a strong foundation in their core subjects so they can be successful in their learning and futures.

“The approach of combining and collaborating the subject areas of STEAM will become more blended and integrated into the children’s inquiry learning.”

A good year of work has preceded next month’s launch, with the development of a STEAM curriculum for Kadimah, Meltzer says.

“The NZC is the backbone of this curriculum and all the learning levels and outcomes match the strong inquiry based NZC.”

Staff at Kadimah have worked with educators from Sisler High School in Winnipeg, to develop Kadimah’s draft curriculum, the principal explains.

“The journey started with our Raye Freedman Vex Robotics programme last year and this continues to grow in strength and will be continued into the future.”

As the Jewish special character has STEAM subjects integrated throughout Jewish lessons, students can enjoy the strong inquiry based curriculum taught in Jewish studies.

“They see how they can blend the STEAM subjects with their knowledge and future study of the ancient Jewish culture.”

Students will already know how to collaborate and accept others’ ideas to work on a project, Meltzer says.

“It takes a combination of skills to produce a successful presentation or project, and not everybody is going to be good at all the subject areas, but with the combination of all children’s ideas, this will build success and confidence for everyone.”

With the employment market place changing rapidly, there is much more demand for professionals who can be experts in their field as well as having excellent social skills and able to work within a group, using the STEAM approach is hugely important to children’s education, Meltzer says.

“In the twenty-first Century, children will have to collaborate with their peers or work colleagues at work.

“They will also need to know how to utilise all their knowledge and skills from all subject areas to be successful and confident citizens of the future.”

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