Generally, elementary and secondary schools in Canada include STEM programs that are available as part of a broader curriculum. Schools include mandatory STEM classes or offer extracurricular STEM activities (math clubs, coding clubs, robotics clubs, etc.), but there are very few that offer programs or schools that use STEM as their base curriculum and revolve other subjects around that foundation. There are various schools that centre around subjects such as performing arts, graphic design, ice hockey, and languages like French, but schools focused on STEM are few and far between.
There are locations that stand out as pioneering STEM-focused education in Canada: Edmonton, Alberta, and Victoria, British Columbia. In the Edmonton Public Schools, a program called the “Science Inquiry Program” is available at Elmwood School, a Kindergarten to grade 6 elementary school. This program “supports students in building academic skills through investigation and hands-on learning to understand how science shapes our world.” Students work collaboratively to research, explore, solve problems, and make claims based on relevant evidence, teaching them about empirical research from the beginning of their schooling. This program is designed for students to understand how knowledge is created in the science community through critical thinking, making reasoned judgments, and drawing conclusions. The program focuses on multi-literacy learning and inquiry.
Elmwood School is the same school that created a sensory room for students who have unique learning needs, such as students with autism, students who are non-verbal, or anyone overwhelmed by loud noises and bright colours. The school states their mission as “every child, every day…no exceptions” and believes that “our environment” has instructive power to “invite, engage, ignite, and inspire” and that inquiry brings students into new discoveries. After students graduate from Elmwood, it is apparent that they would continue their STEM education alongside many other subjects required by the Edmonton Public School curriculum.