We recognize that our job as educators is to begin preparing students for their future careers. In today’s ever-changing, quickly expanding global economy, it is likely that our students will hold future jobs that don’t even currently exist. Technology integration, therefore, is not simply a luxury, but an essential component of 21st century education.
Lower school students utilize technology on a daily basis in purposeful ways that support our curriculum. While being mindful of age-appropriate screen time, students in Pre-Kindergarten and above are each provided with a personal device (iPad or Chromebook, dependent upon grade level) which are used to develop research skills, to support reading and math skills, and to foster student engagement. Select classes even utilize iPads to build online portfolios of student work.
Each classroom is equipped with an interactive whiteboard, and a computer lab is available for whole class use as needed. 4th and 5th grade students have weekly technology classes in the computer lab, where they are exposed to typing skills and Microsoft Office Suite programs and are introduced to basic principles of coding.
S.T.E.A.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics and represents a forward-thinking, out-of-the-box approach to education. Exposing students to skills that integrate the S.T.E.A.M. principles is another way we seek to maintain student engagement and begin to develop the skill sets needed for future career success!
Our Mobile Makerspace fleet includes four carts, each with a different focus - robotics, Legos, K’Nex, and general S.T.E.A.M. Lower school teachers check out the carts and incorporate them into their classroom learning, providing opportunities for students to think, create, and build, engaging in higher level thinking and fostering collaboration.
In addition to classroom integration, S.T.E.A.M. is emphasized across grade levels through quarterly lower-school-wide challenges. Challenges have included a bird’s nest building challenge in the spring (corresponding with a local author visit), a collaborative nativity scene building project at Christmas time, and much more.