We live in a rapidly changing world and as educators, scientists, engineers, mathematicians, we need to prepare young people with the knowledge, skills and values to adapt and thrive in their futures.
Central to all of this is a sustainable future for all. Climate change, loss of biodiversity and the human population create problems for which we must find solutions. Therefore effective Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) must include the sciences, technology, engineering and maths and an awareness of how they contribute towards the solutions for our most pressing ecological needs. STEM education lies at the heart of ESD alongside the values-led commitment to a more sustainable future.
Therefore it is with primary age groups that this journey must begin. By engaging children at this most formative stage in exciting and challenging activity, the seeds of possibility will be sown and children, regardless of background, can be motivated to engage in STEM subjects as they move through primary to senior school. In particular, the most effective engagement occurs when children from a range of backgrounds can be brought together with one common theme. In this way barriers are broken down, shared values are developed and problems solved together through collaboration. Doubly important, therefore, is this coming together of a diverse range of children to understand each other socially along with the opportunity to understand more clearly how they can effect real change through STEM experiences. Then there is a greater chance that these early childhood experiences will influence their decision making as young adults considering careers and further study and on into their futures.