By Traci Morihara, HBA STEM Coordinator
We live in an ever-changing world. With the advancement of technology, change is occurring at an even faster rate. According to the 2018 World Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), “an estimated 65 percent of children entering primary school today will end up working in a type of job that does not yet exist.” How then do we prepare our children for the future, and what types of skills will they need?
The WEF has identified several skills needed for jobs of the future. These skills focus primarily on thinking outside the box, analyzing and solving problems, being flexible to change, making connections between people and ideas and effectively collaborating with others. There are many ways that we can foster these skills in children starting at a very young age. Here are some examples:
- Tap into the innate curiosity of your children. They will naturally experiment to explore their world. Select toys that allow for open-ended or imagination play like blocks, cookware, musical instruments, and science tools.
- Encourage your child to be creative. As children get older and gain interest in video games, explore apps that allow your child to code and then play their own video games.
- Invite questioning and resist answering too quickly. Instead, coach them to find the answers to their questions or create solutions for their problems.
- Talk to children about emotions. Help them to gain a variety of words to describe how they are feeling. Help children recognize what emotions can look and sound like, in addition to what they feel like.
At Hawaii Baptist Academy, we aim to help our students develop these types of skills at all age levels. STEM classes at the elementary campus are designed to emphasize creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking, and trying new things through the use of problem-based projects and activities. Some of these projects have included developing a UV safe playground structure, creating a robotic water transport vehicle, and constructing a melt-free popsicle cooler. Technology is also integrated into these classes to introduce students to coding, robotics, and 3D printing.
At the middle and high school, science and engineering classes incorporate problem-solving, critical thinking, and data analysis through lab and project based activities, simulations, and the extensive use of technology such as probeware, 3D printers, and various computer and iPad applications.
Woven throughout all of our courses and on all campuses are the themes of emotional intelligence and collaboration. Students learn and practice the skills of effective communication, self-regulation, recognition of others’ emotions, appropriate responses to others’ emotions, and empathy. An emphasis is placed on Christian virtues, and loving and caring for others as Jesus does.
HBA's annual Cardboard Boat Regatta is an entire day devoted to STEM, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Video by the HBA Eagle Eye.
Our ever-changing world is transforming the way we help our children prepare for the future. The skills they need will continue to evolve as new technologies arise. However, we know that Godly values are timeless and unchanging. Hawaii Baptist Academy is committed to preparing Hawaii’s youth for the rigors of life by providing the best science, technology, engineering, and math experiences with a Christ-centered approach.