As I was reading 'Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play' by Mitchel Resnick, a professor at the world-renowned MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), I came across a part that intrigued me and made me stop and think about our students here at Northbridge International School Cambodia.
Chen Jining, the president of the Tsinghua University in China, recognised that the Chinese educational system faced a serious problem: it wasn’t preparing their students to meet the needs of an evolving society.
What does this have to do with us? Well, this chapter of the book goes on to discuss the fact that excellent grades are not enough. Chen Jining believes that something else is needed as the students, though they had excellent grades, did not have the creative, innovative mindset that is needed to succeed in today’s society.
This is what makes Northbridge so special. We have identified the need for this additional aspect within education and our collaboration with MIT supports this.
Throughout the year our students have the opportunity to complete three STEAM Challenges which have been carefully created, organised and researched by MIT.
Additionally, our Makerspace is an exciting part of our school that gets used consistently to support the understanding of concepts and ideas that enrich our units of inquiry.
Finally, we have incorporated more Project Based Learning into units, which allows students to apply what they have learned to look for solutions to real-world problems in a collaborative and creative way.
A very exciting part of our MIT collaboration has given four skilled students an opportunity to develop these skills within the world-class environment of MIT.
Beginning on the 27th of April, two Grade 5 and two Grade 6 students will get the opportunity to explore the campuses of both Harvard and MIT, meet students to find out what it means to study in these environments, and attend STEAM workshops in which they will collaborate with other Nord Anglia students from around the world.
This unique opportunity helps us raise the profile of STEAM for all our community: teachers, parents, and students.
So, how can you support this idea of encouraging creative and critical thinking in your child’s learning?
One way is to begin to talk more about this at home. When you hear your child talk about STEAM, ask them to explain to you what they did and what creative solutions they came up with.
Also, over the holidays, give your child a chance to play and explore with toys, for example, LEGO, and online tools that encourage creativity.
Better yet, set up a STEAM activity at home. Here are some links below that can support you in this:
Scratch.mit.edu (coding platform created by MIT)
As a community, we are all committed to supporting our students in developing the skills, mindsets, attitudes and knowledge they need to be future ready!