Kadena picking up STEAM

by Senior Airman Quay Drawdy
18th Wing Public Affairs

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The new Kadena Elementary School opened Feb. 22, 2018, at Kadena Air Base, Japan.

Within the new school, the use of the science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM, program has meant a new style of curriculum and learning environment for students attending the school.

The school features an open-layout style classroom environment where each grade is assigned a large, open area that each classroom connects to. This allows students from different classes to meet, communicate and work side-by-side on different projects.

“Most school buildings and classrooms haven’t changed in over 100 years,” said Lorri Vallone, Kadena Elementary School assistant principal. “The open layout gives flexibility to reach every student, not where we want them to be, but where they are at that moment. We have the freedom to move students, teachers, furniture and teaching environments as needed. Collaboration and communication, which are integral elements of the 21st century, is consistently used among teachers and students.”

Within the STEAM program, students are receiving instruction within each of the “core” elements, to include science and math, with an added focus on the arts, technology and even engineering. Due to these added focus areas, children are exposed to skills such as basic coding beginning at the kindergarten level.

“It is through exposure and inspiration that our school impacts our students,” Vallone said. “Through our STEAM projects, students are finding the truth in the world, accessing reliable resources, developing real-world solutions, presenting original works and developing skills that will be used for the rest of their lives.”

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