Tuesday, March 21, 2023 | Sha'ban 28, 1444 H
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Their first tryst with science

Do kids have an aversion towards science?

Are they not more keen to learn digits than drawing pictures and yes indeed, they can be seen yawning and playing hit-or-miss and behave indecisive if they aren’t happy about learning something.

Science can be so interesting for the tiny tots if it is served in an enjoyable, friendly way and in the correct proportion that they don’t feel overburdened.

Experts advise children should take the lessons of science at a tender age to help them gaining opportunities to develop and practice many different skills and attributes such as communication skills, team working, collaborative skills besides developing perseverance. Learning science can also help them in analytical, reasoning and problem-solving skills.

Kids are given a window to science at a very young age at the Children’s Museum where a new project called StamaZone is implemented, thanks to the relentless efforts of the Ministry of Education, Khimji Ramdas’s ICV initiative called ‘Eshraqa’ which traces roots in line with Oman Vision 2040 that focuses on enhancing the educational system in the country while introducing Omani children to the wonderful world of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM).

The Oman Children’s Museum is a scientific museum that delves into science, biology, interesting optical illusions, and other interactive displays for children. The museum has many hands-on displays, including experiences such as a fake electric shock, triggering a lightning bolt, launching a hot air balloon, and other such unique activities.

“The online learning platform, e-stemazone, gives children the freedom to access a vast library of useful material from the comfort of their homes or schools,” says Nailesh Khimji , Director, Khimji Ramdas.

While the full-fledged learning center dedicated to STEAM subjects at the Children's Museum in Muscat as the anchor location welcomed children to the intricate world of science, a dedicated online portal aims to cater to students in other wilayats.

“With the freedom to log in 'anytime, anywhere’, students are encouraged to learn, attend innovative online STEAM workshops, and access live webinars at their convenience. Children across Oman who have a passion for science have been encouraged to register themselves at www.stemazoneoman.om to review different course structures or book a slot for webinars giving an opportunity to students outside Muscat to participate in all the Stemazone activities,” he adds.

The idea of e-stemazone came as a response to the COVID-19 crisis that disrupted traditional modules of learning in schools, museums, after-school programmes, and makerspaces. With educational institutions continuing to be temporarily closed, e-stemazone has provided the needed resources to continue learning through virtual platforms. The programmes under e-stemazone are customised in a way to suit learners from different age groups while being engaging, interactive, and easily comprehensible. This initiative has proven its success in providing alternate channels for students to continue their learning journey uninterrupted.

Reaching out to the children in other governorates, Steamazone virtual summer camps have been set up in cooperation with innovation centers located in the Governorate of South Al Batinah, North Al Batina, and Al Dhahira. These virtual camps, which recorded the active participation of 161 students, covered various topics aimed at instilling an interest in STEAM subjects and raising awareness of its importance. The Stemazone team is also doing its best to offer STEAM educational activities and sessions to children based in and outside Muscat.

Plans are underway to conduct innovative and interactive workshops and other educational activities in various schools across different governorates in Oman, according to Eshraqa, on the thought that the youth are the key drivers of prosperity and growth, and helping them attain their full potential is critical to the progress of a nation.

Efforts for human development never go unnoticed. Stemazone has been recognised with the 'Youth Proficiency Award', a prestigious award that recognises and honours significant initiatives that are innovative and exemplary, recently.

Going forward purposefully, the Stemazone programme will continue to encourage students to delve deeper into the world of STEAM and become critical thinkers, innovators, and leaders of tomorrow. This is expected to contribute to building a strong, knowledgeable, and productive youth sector which is an important category in any society.

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