St Joseph’s School, Payneham is immersing students in STEM learning from an early age.
Young students from Reception to Year 6 at St Joseph’s School, Payneham are enjoying a vision of the future thanks to a new, purpose-built STEM room and the latest in technology.
Inspired by a visit to the STEM/ Maker Space at Kildare College, St Joseph’s School, Payneham deputy principal Ingrid Douventzidis has strengthened the school’s focus on STEM learning, creating not just one STEM room but a number of classrooms that embody the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“We retrofitted our computer room to accommodate STEM curriculum and pedagogy,” she says. “But STEM needs to be accommodated in all classroom areas, so we are also refitting some of our other classrooms to be flexible spaces where there is hands-on learning, where technology is everywhere.”
The refurbishment includes new furniture, with height-adjustable desks and stools providing a casual environment in which children can lounge, collaborate and enjoy projectbased learning. “It’s still a work in progress but STEM is the future for our children,” Douventzidis says. “Our motto is ‘Inspired to fly’ and STEM’s guiding principle is to inspire students to be inquisitive, investigators and innovators.”
The arrival of virtual reality glasses has certainly triggered students’ inquisitive natures. “That’s the icing on the cake,” Douventzidis says. “Virtual reality kits can be taken into the classroom or used in the STEM room. The glasses have been a real interest point because children are there underwater and looking at sharks swimming towards them. It excites and engages children in their learning.”
Also exciting students is the school’s highly developed robotics program and almost-completed media room. “We have little robots, Bee Bots and Spheros, that students use right from preschool,” Douventzidis says. “And our media room features a Chroma Key wall, a 360 camera and sound recording equipment with microphones. The children use the technology with their iPads and laptops. We also do coding, which the children love – they’ve created their own games which they have showcased on our app so parents can see.”
With a new, specialised STEM teacher on board, St Joseph’s School, Payneham is firmly entrenched in providing the best possible outcomes for its young students. “The point of difference for our school is we have a STEM room but it’s integrated right through the curriculum,” Douventzidis says. “Even our Preschool classrooms are fitted for STEM. Our direction is guided by research, which suggests that children who experience STEM from an early age are better equipped to develop strong STEM concepts.”