Celebrating the opening of the country’s first scientific-technological kindergarten in Beersheba (from left) Chairman of the Rashi Foundation Gabi Ashkenazi, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovitch.
(photo credit: SASSON TIRAM)
Israel’s first scientific-technological kindergarten opened in Beersheba last week in a joint initiative between defense manufacturers Lockheed Martin, the municipality of Beersheba, philanthropic group the Rashi Foundation and the Education and Science ministries.
Offering more than 300 hours of science study per year, the kindergarten’s aim is to engender an interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) from an early age, covering areas within these ranging from astronomy to robotics.
“Introducing kindergarten children to fascinating science fields will open the door to a whole world of experiences and challenges. The significance of the knowledge the children gain in preschool will be felt in years to come, and it will surely be highly valuable on the personal as well as the national level,” said Education Minister Naftali Bennett.
The kindergarten is part of the Mada- Kids program, which already has launched in more than three-preschools across Beersheba, with a view to opening in more schools across the country if it proves a success. They are operated by Beit Yatziv, an experienced group operating science education programs among 40,000 pupils on behalf of the Rashi Foundation and the Municipality of Beersheba.
“We will continue to advance education and at the same time work to encourage hi-tech and cyber companies to come to our advanced technologies park, developing the city of Beersheba as a metropolitan center of excellence,” said Mayor Rubik Danilovitch.
Chairman of the Rashi Foundation, Lt.-Gen (ret.) Gabi Ashkenazi, commented: “The Rashi Foundation views the promotion of science and technology education from an early age in the geographic and social periphery as a major catalyst for strengthening Israeli society.
This is the first step on the path that will lead them, and the country, to new achievements in science and advanced technology.
Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, one of the main investors in the project, said, “The future growth of Israel’s economy will require a constant supply of highly trained, highly capable technical talent. We are proud of our collaboration with Israel’s Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science and the Rashi Foundation to promote STEM-related programs for kindergarten through high school students.”