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Saturday 18 August 2018
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STEM to Smart Kids

A tutor helps children to apply STEM methods to learning at Smart Kids Educational Club.

JENSEN LA VENDE

Sara Bernard, a 39-year-old former engineer with Atlantic LNG, hopes to achieve her dream of changing the future through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Bernard walked away from her profitable job after a former boss posed a simple question to her, “Can innovation be taught?” Since then she has been teaching innovation as she wants to create a better TT by moulding the minds of children, ages two to 17.

Boys in Smart Kids Educational Club use LEGO tools to learn about robotics.

Bernard partnered with her parents started Smart Kids Educational Club in 2015, and like life, her school is evolving. She currently offers six eighth-week courses suited for four different age groups: two to five, five to seven, eight to 12 and 12 to 17. The five campuses are located throughout Trinidad. Her mother Dr Anna-May Edwards-Henry, whose doctorate is in education, developed the curriculum. Her father William Henry is retired and has a background in electrical and computer engineering. “STEM makes you a conscious thinker. It teaches the child to be a critical thinker and learn critical thinking skills. What we call philosophers are critical thinkers. They identified problems and came up with solutions. This is what we want to create. STEM can change the world,” Bernard said.

Smart Kids Educational Club students are proud of their certificates.

Her aim is not to produce engineers, but have children with the right thinking process to problem solve so they can create a much better future. She highlighted that while she has been tailor fitting her teachings, what she offers is “easy” and can be taught in schools. Her ultimate goal is to have STEM and it’s extension STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), taught in every primary and secondary school. Once STEM is implemented in mainstream education, Bernard said there will no longer be a need for her company. She doesn’t mind and said unemployment was worth it if the result is a better equipped generation.

 

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