École Judiques Culturelles Initiates Project-Based Curriculum and Teacher Engagement to Drive Emotion & The Learning Process
The science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiative Launched
In September 2018, the White House announced the Next Gen Learning Challenge and launched a challenge for state and local STEM education programs to build the next generation of highly-skilled STEM workers. The challenges aim to spark interest in STEM in K-12 students, but beyond the specific curriculum, regional ones also include measures to boost exposure and expose students to early STEM experiences.
Starting in April 2018, educators at École Judiques Culturelles, an immersion preschool within Musée de l’Homme, were tasked with a five-year vision for all 500 of their students to enter the Next Gen Learning Challenge. Through an innovation process that built on state-of-the-art STEM tools, École Judiques has successfully enhanced their daily learning programs that includes both school and work readiness experiences. Those work readiness experiences comprise a holistic holistic approach to engagement that reflects their students’ daily lives and emphasizes environmental, social and technological learning. They combine classroom experiences with community service, physical and digital resources, and private and group projects.
T&E is a non-profit organization that works directly with educators across the country to “Use T&E!” to help teachers maximize the potential of their programs.
“We are a global, interdisciplinary, all-abilities preschool in downtown Montreal. We serve 41 immersion pre-K students and six daycare children. Early childhood is a unique experience; it’s about the whole child and what it’s like to be a person in the world. When students join École Judiques they build a whole new world for themselves. EJ uses the best of children’s learning tools to foster curiosity and cultural enrichment in all aspects of life,” said Rodolphe Roberté, PhD, Quebec State Assistant Science Advisor and Program coordinator at École Judiques Culturelles.
École Judiques Culturelles was founded in May 2015 by Richard Lasica, PhD and École Judiques operates in partnership with École Judiques de l’Homme. The founder learned that with 70,000 children in the Greater Montreal area living with a neurodevelopmental disability, that it was crucial to provide opportunities to develop their talents through an inclusive educational environment. This culture is all about facilitating development for all students, with an emphasis on empathy, curiosity, resilience and collaborative skills.
Sensory Integration through Construction
Students are exposed to a growing project based curriculum, which includes simulations in 3D, modeling, lighting and robotics. The classroom activities draw on the children’s unique perspective and ability to create works of art that are ultimately based on they integrate their own thoughts, feelings and imagination. As part of the building process, they examine and design structures to stimulate “recovery techniques” in recovery. They include using sand, concrete, feathers and clay.
Other inclusive programming includes a group who organize and perform “Family/Trail Runs” which employ relays among the children. In this type of project-based program, it is important to involve as many siblings and relatives as possible, to maximize their involvement and participation.
“Many of our students have parents who experience problems with mental health or developmental delays. We strive to integrate all of our students in these activities, so that these experiences are led by the whole child. In an environment where education and enjoyment come first, the little ones will walk away with success,” Dr. Roberté concluded.
About The Next Gen Learning Challenge
Through an online competition, the Next Gen Learning Challenge is tackling the issues surrounding the academic readiness of today’s youth. The program aims to galvanize interest around an important issue impacting all students today and subsequently, will promote alignment between STEM and STEAM, but importantly early learning. The initiatives can be found online at www.nextgenlearningchalleng… and will begin with the K-5 grade level challenge, with additional grade level challenges to follow in the next four years.
Through innovative tool kits, hands-on solutions and strong networks of educators, T&E works with educators to equip students with the knowledge and skills to succeed as innovators and leaders. Their “Use T&E!” program provides teachers with the tools they need to better engage students in various experiential projects, incorporating hands-on learning, project-based learning, critical-thinking skills and creativity.