Sturt Public School’s revolutionary and sustainable educational program is representing the Wagga community at the 2018 Australian Education Awards.
Kate Livio is one out of four leading STEM teachers at Sturt and argued that the school was the first in the Riverina to trial STEM-based learning in primary schools.
“I think the best thing about it is the student engagement and the authentic learning that takes place,” she said.
“We’re not teaching standard textbook-based learning, we’re going out in the community and through this project based learning, the students are learning more skills to solve problems.”
Four classes, with students aged 8-12, at Sturt are involved in the STEM programs, with each class focused on one aspect of caring, including sustainability and the environment; elderly; students-sensory needs, and the community.
Mrs Livio believed it’s never too young for children to learn how to collaborate, problem solve, think critically and be independent learners.
“We thought why not embed these skills to children earlier, as this opens up a world of opportunity for children when they get to high school,” she said.
Over 180 students at Sturt participated in a beeswax class last week, learning about wrapping food with beeswax wrap instead of cling wrap, while using numeracy skills like measuring and shapes to figure out what size was needed to wrap their lunches.
Mrs Livio said despite their environmental efforts, the school still produces over 6000 bits of rubbish each week.
“It’s probably worse in high schools, but students are bringing these beeswax wraps to school now and it’s a never ending journey,” she said.
Out of all education sectors across the country, Sturt Public School is one of nine finalists for its STEM program.
“We are showing students to care for their future and their environment; it’s not about winning awards, but teaching children in the best way we know how to,” Mrs Livio said.
The school is excited and “shocked” that they have made this far against tough competition.
“This award is actually a community award and it’s student-led learning and we’re just the facilitators,” said another STEM teacher at Sturt, Fiona Hawkins.