Technology is rapidly evolving and transforming the Canadian economy, making STEAM literacy increasingly essential for successful employment for young people. A high proportion of the employment opportunities that will be available to students now entering our elementary schools will require STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Design, and Mathematics) literacy. Even now, access to talent is a significant constraint on the growth of BC’s high-tech sectors and our collective, economic success.
Today, every major Canadian city hosts an abundance of organizations that engage children and youth in STEAM learning. Yet, these organizations exist largely in isolation and, to date, we have struggled to scale these learning opportunities evenly across both urban and rural regions. As a result, a huge proportion of Canadian youth, particularly in Indigenous and vulnerable communities, do not receive quality STEAM learning opportunities.
By 2037 there will be more jobs in technology than the industry's local talent can support. Necessary skills in technology are not limited to specialized knowledge like coding. They also require fundamental disciplines like art, design, and science, as well as critical thinking, strong communication, problem-solving, teamwork, decision making, resilience, and others.
Want to join us in making a difference? We are raising money to benefit our Elementary Students in The Board of Education of School District No. 39 (Vancouver). We need help in continuing our mission to produce a sustainable and scalable educational program aimed at fostering digital and STEAM literacy in grades 4-7 students.
Our initiative is called the FuturePLAY Program and it is creating progressive learning environments in schools throughout Vancouver, in an effort to ensure that kids have the tools and environments they need to pursue future careers in STEAM. FuturePLAY is geared to support vulnerable communities in Vancouver and is rooted in two KEY goals:
1) Create engaging and well-equipped spaces:
We are buying new equipment like updated technology (tablets, laptops, projectors, and applications) and maker space supplies (resources to develop students' tactile understanding as well as and hand-built projects)
We are buying new flexible furniture to encourage movement, active sitting, and active standing throughout the day: Standing desks, wobble cushions, soft seating, and traditional chairs. We are creating an environment that supports a variety of learning types.
2) Provide deep professional development opportunities for teachers to support them as they use these spaces.
We have worked with different amazing providers across Canada (Actua, Canada Learning Code, Geering Up, Science World, First Robotic Canada, Under the Gui Academy, and Maker Zen Lab) to offer the necessary Professional Development to our teachers in the district. So far we have been able to impact around 20% of our staff.
Target Student Communities:
Vulnerable - At-risk communities have less access to the resources needed to foster quality STEAM learning opportunities.
Girls and Indigenous Youth - Only 22% of STEAM jobs in Canada are held by women, and Indigenous communities are highly underrepresented. Both groups are a strong focus on building Vancouver’s homegrown talent pool.
Schools working with outdated technology
We want to put cutting-edge tools in the hands of each student at schools under our program, as well as create modular classrooms in those schools that enable a multitude of collaboration types that strengthen learning and engagement.
We currently have the program integrated into 5 elementary schools, benefitting around 1500 students and it’s showing incredible results. By February 2021, we will have the program in a total of 12 schools, impacting around 4200 students. With your generous contributions, we will then be increasing every year until we reach our ultimate goal of 20-25 elementary schools in Vancouver, representing around 6000-8000 students.
To highlight how one school is integrating our initiative, we are very proud to share a look into Henderson Elementary (click the link for photos) Henderson's amazing teachers have used the FuturePLAY space to develop and promote all sorts of activities, from working on math problems to meditation! Students are creating art projects, staged face mask making, coding, engaging in brainstorming sessions, storytelling, as well as so much more.
We are raising money to benefit our Elementary Students in The Board of Education of School District No. 39 (Vancouver), so any donation will help make an impact now and in the future.
According to Pearson, a global leader in education and multinational assessment company, the global challenge for education is not just about providing access, but also ensuring progress. FuturePLAY is ready and willing to meet that challenge head-on!
The total funding of this campaign will be used to serve more schools, getting us closer to our goal of 20-25 additional schools.
Thank you in advance for your DONATION to this cause that is so important and means so much to the future of Vancouver!