The Australian government, along with many industry groups, is a keen supporter of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and believes the next generations of young Australians should have the skills they need for our future workforce, particularly in the increasingly important disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The National STEM strategy articulates the schooling should encourage the development of skills in critical and creative thinking, along with problem solving and digital technologies which will be essential for 21st century occupations.
Many people and groups are equally looking at how Arts contributes to the creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship aspects, and have broadened their focus on STEAM (with the inclusion of Arts to the disciplines). A great CIO article explores this in more depth
While there has been much focus on digital literacy and programming for children, these skills need to be built upon a foundation that leverages left-brain and right-brain thinking. This is seen in the Australian curriculum, as the general capability of Critical and Creative Thinking that underpins the specific Science, Technology and Mathematics learning areas.
Creation of solutions to ill-defined problems, require imaginative thinking, curiosity, together with problem-solving, logical thinking and perseverance. These attributes can be encouraged and strengthened from early childhood, through the use of open-ended educational toys that drive both left brain and right brain development together.
LaQ has been used in childcare centres around the world for this very reason, and for the specific areas outlined in the Benefits page. The simple 7 part type range, the tactile nature of the Snap and Click sounds that encourage play, together with the challenge of following 3D instructions, stimulates logical thinking and then enables open-ended play. The learning journey that encourages this development is outlined here as well.
The Power Shovel model is a great example of how using just fixed static parts, you can build a movable arm. On our Instagram page, you can find a great example of a transformable robot / airplane!