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Toyota Ramps Up Support for At-Home Education

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Toyota Supports At-Home Education
Photo: Toyota

Toyota has long supported STEM programs, but with in-school sessions paused across North America, teachers and parents have had to take a different approach to educate their children. In Canada, not-for-profit organizations are working harder than ever to ensure STEM education can continue to be delivered to the kids who, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, are hardest to reach.

Let’s Talk Science and Actua are Canada’s leading STEM education outreach programs, and both are receiving help from Toyota during this crisis. The automaker says the Toyota Canada Foundation has “significantly increased” its support for the programs to help boost the remote and at-home education strategies.

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“As learning has shifted from the classroom to the household, children and youth without the proper digital tools and educational resources are being left behind and it’s becoming more difficult for the marginalized in our communities to get ahead in STEM as these groups are already underrepresented,” said Leslie Miller, a member of the Toyota Canada Foundation’s board.

“Toyota Canada Foundation is focused on programs that reach out to and support these kids and we believe it’s vitally important to continue to reach and engage them in STEM education experiences as they adapt to this new reality.”

In response to COVID-19, Let’s Talk Science has rolled out a new remote learning program dubbed The Horizon Project. Aimed at students in grades 4-6, which is most at risk of losing interest in STEM programs, the project is distributing learning packs to boost STEM literacy and interest, including hands-on activities, games, and design challenges that use household items.

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Actua, a national Canadian charity, delivers STEM education outreach programs to over 350,000 young Canadians every year with workshops, clubs, and summer camps. Because of COVID-19, new initiatives have been needed, and Actua turned to the internet to create online summer camps. However, not everyone has ready access to the internet, and Actua is also producing hands-on STEM education kits for children with little or no access to technology, including Indigenous communities.

“This type of global crisis offers a lens through which we can more clearly see the importance of developing resilience, adaptability, creativity and problem-solving as foundational skills in youth,” said Jennifer Flanagan, CEO of Actua.

Though COVID-19 has disrupted all of our lives, it is children who may be its greatest victim. According to the United Nations, more than 1.5 billion children and youth are affected by school closures around the world, and the potential losses that may accrue in learning for today’s young generation are, in the words of a report by the U.N., “hard to fathom.”