The Sakhikamva Foundation marked National Science Week by equipping learners from Floreat Primary School in Retreat with a Stream laboratory.
The fully-equipped 4iR classroom, which can accommodate 40 learners, is the latest in the Foundation’s roll-out of specialised tech laboratories to promote Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Aeronautics and Mathematics learning in schools.
Fatima Jakoet, founder of Sakhikamva, said learners now have a head-start in the wake of the new coding and robotics curriculum, which is set to be rolled out into primary schools next year.
“The reason we launched the programme this week is because it is National Science Week, and we want to ensure children don’t shy away from the sciences because we need to prepare them for the 21st century workplace.
“This is where it starts, which is to plant that seed now at primary-school level and not to wait until they are in their final year at school.
“So if we influence that thinking now already they are set for the future.
“The Stream laboratory is an interactive space for kids to develop 21st-century skills and specifically with the roll out of the coding and robotics curriculum into 2023 this will give them a kick-start with regards to coding, robotics, artificial intelligence, design 3D printing and all the exciting things they don’t have the opportunity to be exposed to.”
Jakoet added that the space will enable children to have the necessary resources available to them.
Floreat Primary teachers will be trained in Stream philosophy and teaching methodologies. When the coding and robotics curriculum is introduced next year by the Department of Basic Education, they will already have the resources, know-how and confidence to seamlessly integrate this in their weekly timetable.”
The laboratory is made possible through a partnership between Sakhikamva and Prescient Foundation.
Nicole Pinto, CEO at the Prescient Foundation, said the initiative gives them the opportunity to contribute towards the development of 21st century skills.
“Through our partnership with the Sakhikamva Foundation, we have the opportunity to contribute towards the development of 21st century skills at Floreat Primary School. Skills that we believe are fundamental in creating and shaping our future leaders.
“We’ve supported a variety of Sakhikamva Foundation’s coding and robotics education initiatives for more than five years, and similarly, we have an excellent relationship with Floreat Primary School which has been an engaging participant in our leadership programme since 2015.”
Meryl Bendie, programme facilitator from Prescient Foundation, said the earlier children are exposed to coding and robotics the better.
“The plan is that coding and robotics be included until Grade 9.
“We find that the later children get involved, the slower they are to adjust to it and I think the earlier we get them involved the faster they will adjust and the faster we will have people in science and technology.
“The school has shown a lot of excitement and they are very passionate about the learners and new opportunities.”
The new internet-connected Stream laboratory will provide a stimulating environment for the development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills where learners will get hands-on experience with technologically advanced equipment including robotics and 3-D printers.
The laboratory features Artificial Intelligence, engineering and science kits to ignite innovation and inspire critical thinking, design thinking and problem-solving capabilities.
Floreat Primary school principal Noel Isaacs said the tech-lab will promote hands-on learning.
“As a school of more than 900 learners and 25 (teachers), we are so grateful for this wonderful new learning environment. The laboratory will enable us to lay a solid foundation for coding and robotics education and give our children the opportunities to develop programming and other digital skills.
“On a day-to-day basis, our new tech lab will promote hands-on learning and teamwork, and the entire school is looking forward to a new era of tech learning adventures.”
Floreat is the second primary school in the country to be equipped with a 4iR Stream lab. Sakhikamva Foundation has previously opened Stream labs at Lanseria Airport in Gauteng, as well as various Western Cape schools.