Education Minister, Ronald Jones, has lauded the philanthropic efforts of British company Morphun Education, which today donated 72 kindergarten construction kits and 72 primary school level construction kits to his Ministry’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Programme.
The presentation, which took place this morning in the Ministry’s conference room at the Elsie Payne Complex, was part of an initiative by Chief Designer and owner of Morphun Education, Colin Simonds, to distribute the construction kits to schools across Barbados.
According to the company, the international award-winning construction Morphun system “allows far greater and creative value for children, and explores flexibility of form and movement from an early age”.
Mr. Jones explained that increasingly, countries across the world were recognising the role of STEM in their economic growth by providing a boost to manufacturing and innovation. He stated that for children to thrive in the modern world, both in the workplace and in a technologically advanced society, a basic understanding of STEM subjects was vital.
“Kindergarten children, early childhood and children in the early part of primary education, even right through the entire part of primary education, … can use these manipulators (the construction kits), as part of our emphasis on STEM. We know that young children are highly creative, and Mr. Simonds, through Morphun Education, his company, has been able to donate and present to us here at the Ministry, 144 essential kits.”
Pointing out that the concept of the kits came from a school of education called the constructivist model, where children are able to engage themselves through guidance from the teacher, Mr. Jones said that the children in turn are able to go into designing and developing what they want.
“So, you can make shapes from these things…you can construct diagrams, you can build houses, so a future architect can come out of this…so, there is a whole school of thought in relation to these things,” the Education Minister stated.
Head of Political, Press and Public Affairs, at the British High Commission, Martin Robinson, who presented the kits on behalf of Mr. Simonds, who was unable to attend, stated that that the Chief Designer indicated that there were three reasons why he wanted to donate the gifts to this island.
“These gifts are to celebrate Mr. Simonds’ late mother’s many visits to and love for Barbados; it is to mark Mr. Simonds own 65th birthday, which he held on the island with many friends this year; and it is also to celebrate Barbados’ 50th year of Independence,” he indicated.