The project “Extra Class” kicked off in October at Japão Municipal School, in Santa Cruz, Brazil. It is geared at Elementary School I students and starts with the capacity to engage 72 children. The project will run from Monday to Thursday for 4 hours a day, during school off hours. This investment is part of the Techint Group's global initiative, which has more than 1,700 students in seven countries.
In the project, children are exposed to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) teaching model. This methodology consists of project-based integrated learning to stimulate creativity, seeking to provide training in multiple areas of knowledge and stimulate the learning process through a more intuitive experience that is suited to the context of each student. To ensure a better experience, Ternium has equipped the rooms that will host the activities with new furniture and modern equipment, to provide the appropriate space in this context.
The Extra Class project Coordinator in Santa Cruz, Michelle Arruda, explains how STEM is developed in everyday activities: “The idea is for students to learn based on inquiry teaching and active methodologies from a perspective different than the conventional form of teaching. It is aimed to awaken in students the taste for investing in academic life. The intention is to sharpen critical thinking and creativity, and to stimulate the interpersonal interaction of the children.” According to her, the goal is to receive 216 participating students by 2024.
The project is present in other countries, such as Ternium Argentina.
Karen Vitória Marques, a project teacher, and resident of the Jesuítas sub-district, located in Santa Cruz, highlights that the community is excited about the launching of activities. “The children are enthusiastic about the launching project. This initiative from Ternium will offer many benefits to our community. They were all happy and excited at the parents’ meeting. We hope to get everyone involved and engaged because it has everything to be a success,” the STEM leader says.
Ternium’s Community Relations Manager Fernanda Candeias emphasizes the project’s importance for the community and the partnership with Japão School: “Investing in education is our main strategy to contribute to the development in Santa Cruz. The Extra Class project consolidates scientific and mathematical thinking in the students, in addition to improving the children's social-emotional skills. It is very special to carry out this project at Japão School, which was the first one to receive the Volunteers in Action project.”
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Besides math and literacy activities, the Extra Class project offers art workshops, recreational activities, a reading club, and physical activities. It is developed in three stages, each separated by the school year of the children in Elementary School I. The first stage is for kids in 1st and 2nd grade, the second stage engages children in 3rd and 4th grade, and the third stage only involves students in 5th grade. In Santa Cruz, it will start out with the first stage only, and the activities in the following stages will kick off gradually. The program is focused on developing and building conscious and reflective knowledge about the topics proposed in class, assisting and encouraging students to create and apply their solutions through experiences carried out in class.
The Extra Class project is a global initiative of the Techint group that is also present in other countries. Here in Brazil, it was first implemented in 2014 in Pindamonhangaba, São Paulo. According to Marina Azeredo, the coordinator in charge of the São Paulo state hub, about 500 children have already participated in the initiative during this time. “The Extra Class project looks at developing social-emotional and academic skills and ensuring students’ attendance at school. The idea is to add to the content that the school brings,” she explains.