Recess STEM program conducted at Berkeley School

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BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Berkeley Elementary School has received a $3,000 Bloomfield Educational Foundation grant for a recess STEM program for second and third graders. The seven-week program is conducted by the Montclair Learning Center.

Each session is 30 minutes long. On Friday, Feb. 14, Megan McGlone’s third grade class, working from kits, assembled remote-control cars. In groups of five or six, the children followed instructions from a tablet.

“We decided to start at the primary grade levels, because we’re trying to teach organized play and social skills,” Principal Natashia Baxter said. “We find a lot of children play virtual games, which don’t allow for social building or collaborative teamwork.”

Berkeley has three second and third grade classes. Special education students are incorporated into them. Students in the STEM program are placed together, following the recommendation of their teachers.

“We mix the kids up, so they get to know a new friend,” Baxter said.

Berkeley third graders are also busy, along with fourth and fifth graders, in rehearsals for “The Lion King,” with shows on Thursday, March 26, and Friday, March 27. The musical will be the second of three funded by Disney. A medley from the show will be presented at the Bloomfield Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, March 10. There are 80 students in the current show. Last year, Berkeley staged “Aladdin.”

Photos by Daniel Jackovino.