Ardoch’s New STEM School Readiness Program

When: 31 Mar 2020

More than 1800 kindergarten children across Dandenong, Melbourne’s South East, Melbourne’s Western suburbs, and Geelong received an early education boost in late 2019 through Ardoch’s innovative new STEM school readiness program, and we are pleased to report on a highly successful debut program.

Ardoch’s new STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) based program assists children at under-resourced early years services in disadvantaged communities to engage in important STEM subjects from an early age.

The 2019 program provided books focussed on animals, water and space, as well as offered all 1800 children STEM based activities and guest presenters at their kindergartens during term 4. Melbourne Museum, Reptile Encounter, Wildlife Native and Animal Xposure delivered a serious of tactile, interactive experiences for the children, with parents encouraged to join in and support their child’s engagement in learning.

Ardoch was able to offer this new and innovative program to so many pre-schoolers thanks to the support of the UPS Foundation, who, recognising our belief that the early years of a child’s life sets the foundation for school engagement, partnered with Ardoch with funding to bring the program to life.

The research presented in the Australian Early Development Census Report shows that 22% of Australian children start school at a disadvantage, with lack of pre-school exposure to one or more of the STEM subjects being a significant factor. Additionally, a report from the Council of Australian Governments, 2008, cites that “research has highlighted that the first five years of life have been identified as crucial in shaping a child’s ability to learn and think creatively.

Ardoch’s CEO, Kylee Bates, had this to say about the program;

‘Under-resourced schools need capacity building and resource support to engage and retain students in learning to help break the cycle of disadvantage. The STEM packs and activities are designed to develop the children’s confidence and inspire their curiosity, problem-solving skills, build upon a child’s natural sense of enquiry about the world, and promote positive experiences with STEM related subjects.’

Kylee and the Ardoch team are thrilled to have been able to deliver a successful program to such a large number of early-years children, and we look forward to offering more early years STEM programs in the future.