Supporting teaching and learning

The STEAM Foundation NPC is a non-profit organisation which supports practical science teaching and learning through the professional development of educators.

It was established in 2017 with seed funding from the Siemens Stiftung. The STEAM Foundation improves the quality of science education by empowering educators in under-resourced South African schools.

Confident, knowledgeable educators are key to success. Many South African educators did not experience effective science teaching when they were learners themselves. Hence, we give educators the opportunity to experience an inquiry-based approach to science teaching which they can then implement in their own classrooms.

The STEAM Foundation creates and adapts materials that enable educators to teach key scientific concepts, and inspires them to be passionate and confident in their teaching abilities.

STEAM focuses on developing educators’ resilience, empowering them to handle big classes and create positive learning environments.

The STEAM Foundation is built upon research and analysis into the needs of science educators in South Africa. All of its training materials are CAPS-aligned.

Educators who participate in STEAM Foundation training can earn professional development points from the South African Council for Educators (SACE) via our network of training providers.

Adapting Experimento

The STEAM Foundation NPC has adapted to the South African context the insights and teaching methodologies of the hands-on and minds-on discovery-based xperimento programme, a proven method of teaching and learning developed by a German foundation, the Siemens Stiftung.

Unlike other science offerings, which focus strongly on the product or science kit itself,  STEAM programme believes emphatically in educator education. It trains educators not only on how to teach scientific concepts through hands-on experimentation, but it also embeds specific training as to how to implement cooperative learning within even very large classes.

Experimento includes training workshops for educators, hands-on science experiments, and manuals and worksheets. The South African version of Experimento is based on user testing and educator feedback from six provinces since 2012 together with the piloting of the newly developed kits into three Provinces in South Africa.

Partnerships

The STEAM Foundation works closely with South African partners.

  • Educator training is undertaken in projects working alongside the Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CASME), an accredited non-profit education development organisation which has delivered school maths and science programmes since 1985. CASME focuses on professional development and support for educators.
  • The manufacture and packaging of science teaching materials is done by Lasec in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • The STEAM Foundation NPC works closely with the Provincial and National Departments of Basic Education.
  • Data from Statistics SA is combined with insights from the Department of Basic Education to identify and prioritise schools.
  • Research has been provided by the Schools Development Unit at the University of Cape Town, and the School of Science and Mathematics Education at the University of the Western Cape.
  • Financial and legal support are outsourced to Longbourne Estates and NGO Law.
  • Siemens Stiftung is a non-profit international foundation established in 2008 by Siemens AG. It offers financial support and access to international best practice in science education. Its Experimento science teaching and learning programme was developed in Germany and has been adapted for South African needs by STEAM.
  • The STEAM Foundation is building new partnerships with private sector funders and fellow education non-profit foundations.
  • The STEAM Foundation is a member of the National Association of Social Change Agents in Education (NASCEE).