| Released: September 17, 2015
Until now the non-profit organization Girls Learning Code didn’t have a home base in Victoria, but St. Margaret’s School (SMS) is changing that. Girls Learning Code is the youth arm of Ladies Learning Code, a national non-profit dedicated to teaching women and girls computer engineering skills. Their free coding workshops, which are wildly popular and open to the public, will now be available to girls throughout the year at SMS. The workshops teach coding skills through website design, game design and a variety of other topics.
This past weekend, on September 12, SMS offered a day-long game design workshop to a full house of enthusiastic girls from the school and surrounding community. Lauren Hudson, the STEM Program Support Teacher at SMS, explains that the workshop filled before the summer holidays had even ended, with a few more girls on the waitlist—a testament to the popularity of the program. "This is a wonderful mentorship opportunity for professionals in the local tech sector to help get girls excited about technology. The Girls Learning Code model depends on volunteer mentors so we are working hard on forging relationships with local tech companies to ensure we are able to open these workshops to as many girls as possible."
For upcoming coding events, participants and prospective mentors should check the SMS website or visit ladieslearningcode.com and filter events for Victoria. Registration is now open for the National Girls Coding Day workshop on November 7, a blow out event to be jointly hosted at SMS and nearby University of Victoria in order to offer the largest possible capacity.
| School program gets girls interested in technology [Victoria News, September 23, 2015]
St. Margaret’s is also the new host organization for First Lego League—and it’s the first time the affiliate partner is from the island, a boon for Victoria and its growing tech scene. The League introduces young people, ages 9 to 14, to the fun and excitement of science and technology through Lego competitions.
“It’s not just about building robots, I love that the Lego League challenges its participants to work through real world problems,” explains Hudson. “At annual tournaments, League teams plan and build robots for competition, all the while problem-solving around hot topics like climate, energy or biomedical engineering.”
Hudson states both groups support SMS’s commitment to inquiry-based learning and exemplifies what science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) schools are about. “We are looking for collaborative, project-based opportunities for kids to work closely together in a hands-on way to solve real-world problems,” says Hudson. “These partnerships are a great way to put all that learning in context and build skills that lie outside the traditional curriculum.”
The First Lego League (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an international robotics program that introduces kids aged 9-14 to the excitement of STEM learning, and brings teams together to compete in regional tournaments. For more info visit firstlegoleague.org or contact FLL@smsbc.ca if you’re interested in forming a team.
Media Inquiries: Jennifer van Hardenberg by email or call 250-479-7171
St Margaret’s School is an independent, day and boarding school for girls located in Victoria, BC. Established in 1908, SMS is an international centre for STEM learning and girls’ leadership development, providing empowering education from junior kindergarten to grade 12 (Boarding: Grades 7-12). Learn more at www.stmarg.ca. Interested families are invited to attend an Open House (October 23 & February 19), or can contact admissions to arrange a private tour.