As a school whose mission is to develop outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate, it is paramount that we reflect on the programs and experiences we offer to ensure that they contribute to the traits we wish to foster in our girls and young women.
Over the past term, I have often stopped in to our First Lego League (FLL) robotics club. Our teams are comprised of girls from Grades 6 – 12, with the most senior girls being mentors for the younger ones. They meet each Friday after school in a room around the corner from my office, and what most often brings me by is their laughter and enthusiasm.
There is much written in the media these days about the need for girls to engage in STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. There is now increasing interest in bringing the Arts into the equation as design is a necessary component of many STEM-related professions.
Lego robotics is a fabulous program that brings science and technology together and while it may be a path our girls follow into a STEM profession, for me, our program is wonderful because of its mission-fit approach.
If we want intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate girls and young women, this is a program that nurtures all of these areas. I see this on Friday afternoons; however it was even more evident on Saturday when I attended the girls’ competition. Throughout the day, teams are assessed on how they support each other as they face tasks, their robot design, and their alignment with the core values of FLL. Our girls are challenged to problem solve on the spot- to take stock of an issue that might preclude their robot from performing- and move forward. I was impressed with the girls’ ability to recalibrate and move forward when things weren’t going as planned.
As I left the competition yesterday, I had no doubt that our St. Clement’s Teams were gaining experience that would foster their intellectual curiosity, courage and compassion. I felt great pride as I watched their enjoyment, their teamwork and their determination.