STEAM Limburg deepens and accelerates under Brightlands Next banner

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3 April 2023

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STEAM Limburg

STEAM Limburg deepens and accelerates under Brightlands Next banner

Turning children's curiosity into tomorrow's discoveries. That's what STEAM Limburg is doing by giving technology and art a place in the curricula of Limburg elementary school. Together with Brightlands, STEAM Limburg will deepen and accelerate this ambition under the Brightlands Next banner. In order to involve the next generations in decisions that determine their future and help children find their place in society.

During the Brightlands Symposium at the TEFAF, Maurice Lambriex, Brightlands Next project leader, explained how the platform came into being and interacted with STEAM Limburg program leaders Tessa Timmermans and Bart Alofs.

The start of Brightlands Next

Last year, Brightlands Chemelot Campus celebrated its 10th anniversary. During the anniversary symposium, 11- and 12-year-olds pitched their answers to the question of what kind of world they want to live in. 'In doing so, basically all Brightlands themes passed by' says Maurice. 'The climate, sustainability, health, loneliness, poverty. All topics that children think about, that they want to come up with solutions for. As young as they are; they want to make an impact. It was really impressive what they presented. We thought it was very important not to leave it at this one time. We wanted to give these themes a permanent place in the curriculum of elementary school. Because that's where talent development begins. That's why we contacted the schools. And we looked at what Brightlands could do for them.'

And then you ended up at Steam Limburg

Maurice: 'STEAM Limburg, that's all 340 Limburg elementary school, 18 educational foundations and 70,000 students. United in one club covering all of Limburg's primary education. That's unique. You won't find that anywhere in the Netherlands. They are in the middle of the schools and their curricula and work from the inside out. We are going to help them by providing our context, content and contacts. This is an initiative of all Brightlands campuses together, with the organizational power being brought in by Brightlands Chemelot Campus.'

How does STEAM Limburg succeed in engaging the schools?

Bart: 'We listen to the teachers. What can we do for their education? How can we leave the direction with them? How can we respond to the curiosity and interest that children naturally have?'

Tessa: 'A lot is expected of teachers. Before you know it, everyone is reinventing the wheel themselves. We facilitate them by offering themes in coherence. Nothing is added, we enrich the existing lessons. We let students do their own research so they develop the right skills for the jobs of the future. Brightlands helps us go outside, connects us with the right partners within the campuses and provides us with the context needed. Think about the Kidshackathon or visiting ET Pathfinder, the scale model of the Einstein Telescope.'

André Kuipers also just joined the symposium online...

Bart: 'He talked about Spacebuzz, an educational project designed as a space journey. In a purpose-built trailer, children experience a space journey; from donning the overalls that astronauts wear, through mission control to the press conference afterwards. The whole trip is full of moments of discovery and learning. From space, the children discover that the earth is one whole. They see how beautiful and how vulnerable our planet is. They are introduced to science and engineering, new technology, circularity and sustainability.'

Tessa: 'Spacebuzz also leaves control with the teacher. Spacebuzz supports their teaching. It is a very nice project. How nice would it be if Limburg could one day have its own Spacebuzz rocket?'

Maurice: 'That would be a wonderful gift to the talent of the future in our region! Yet Brightlands Next is much more than that. It is a movement, a new platform for the future!'

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Source: Brightlands