The Apex Foundation, in collaboration with Vikram Sanghani, a long-time Apex partner, hosted the ﬁrst-ever Wolf Trap Science, Technology, Engineering, and Arts (STEM) learning program at the MANJUL School in Rajkot, India in October 2015. The school was formed by Mr. Sanghani for a speciﬁc purpose. Aside from helping children in need, he wanted to marry India’s traditional system of schooling (emphasis on rote learning, information memorization, and accurate skill acquisition and performance) with a Western system including more creativity and innovation.
Supported by over three decades of experience and published research studies, The Wolf Trap Foundation operates under the belief that the integration of arts-centric educational strategies enhances early childhood development, including language and literacy, social/emotional growth, STEM skills, and 21st century skills (critical thinking, communication, creativity, etc.).
Although it has traditionally focused on underprivileged children in the United States, the Wolf Trap program has recently been reaching out internationally, preceding its Indian foray with a highly successful one in Singapore. Using the Apex Foundation as an intermediary, the two organizations were able to bring this collaboration to fruition.
Christina Farrell, the master teaching artist from Wolf Trap, led classroom sessions at MANJUL, in additional to a professional development workshop for about 40 teachers from diﬀerent schools throughout the area. She introduced such ideas as open-ended questions like “how many ways can you move your arms?” as opposed to fact-based questions, and role-playing games intended to catalyze the creative juices.
“I believe her methods have opened the eyes of our teachers and there will be a dramatic transition from rote learning to building creativity, and stimulating intellectual curiosity in the children,” stated Mr. Sanghani.
Benefits of Wolf Trap STEM Learning Program
- Wolf Trap students outperformed peers in control schools on the Early Math Diagnostic Assessment (EMDA)
- As compared against standards of eﬀective professional development (PD), research conﬁrms that the Wolf Trap program provides high-quality PD by thoroughly integrating form, duration, collective participation, content, active learning, and coherence
- Methods were particularly eﬀective for children who were shy, new to school, or whose primary language was one other than English