US defense and aerospace company Lockheed Martin took its MadaKids kindergarten online in an inauguration event with three kindergartens in Jerusalem on Monday.
The children, who received tablets from Lockheed Martin last week, connected to a central screen in the company's innovation center in Tel Aviv to watch an interactive experiment with the CEO of Lockheed Martin Israel Joshua (Shiki) Shani.
Since 2015, Lockheed Martin has founded seven STEM kindergartens as part of the MadaKids program in coordination with the Rashi Foundation, the Education Ministry, the Bet Yatziv Organization and the Jerusalem, Beersheba and Kiryat Malachi Municipalities.
Shani dedicated NIS 350,000 from the company to fund a special program for online learning - "MadaKids-Online." The program includes hundreds of kindergarten students in Jerusalem, Beersheba and Kiryat Melachi who will continue to learn in science classes which will include comprehensive science enrichment classes in the STEM field, scientific experiments and individual enrichment.
The company will fund the purchase of hundreds of tablets and fast internet service, a special scientific content for the program, a special educational system for the content and training for teaching staff and kindergarten staff.
The tablets and the online content will be kept by the students even after the coronavirus crisis ends.
MadaKids-Online will also focus on the socio-emotional aspects of the students in the current period, including, social bonding, emotional dialogue, therapeutic activities, controlling emotional reactions, sharing experiences, humor, placing goals and achieving them, identifying challenges and opportunities and dealing with difficulties.
MadaKids kindergartens teach young children over 300 hours of a year of science and technology material. Graduates continue in a separate robotics program, also sponsored by Lockheed Martin, from 1st to 6th grade.
"We welcome the cooperation and important contribution to the progress of scientific education, especially in these challenging times, in which Israeli students deal with challenging times daily and especially concerning education," said Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion. "Jerusalem is leading in educational innovation and continuing to vigorously invest in them."
Shani expressed the need to continue to provide "interesting and innovative content together with fun and enjoyment" during the coronavirus crisis.
"Lockheed Martin will continue to progress scientific education programs as a foundation stone in the education of young minds - the next generation of scientists, doctors and researchers in the world and in Israel," said Shani. "Lockheed Martin is proud to support the young generation of the State of Israel, from kindergartens to schools to universities."