North Little Rock HS Students Teach Elementary School About EAST

Last Updated:11/4/2021

After discovering elementary schools across the state have EAST programs, Navaeh McFelson decided to lead the charge of bringing EAST to Crestwood Elementary School.

Over the years, EAST has expanded beyond a high school elective course. Now, EAST can be found in colleges, middle schools and even elementary schools. Nevaeh McFelson, a North Little Rock High School EAST student, discovered just how widespread EAST is through participating in EAST Conference, and began working to bring EAST to everyone in her school district.

“The inspiration came from watching and talking to elementary-level kids in their conference booths,” Navaeh said. “Our school district does not have an EAST program in our elementary schools, but some other districts do. This sparked my wonder as to why we don't have one, and what I can do to provide our kids that same experience. I became committed to wanting to expose the power of STEM, critical thinking, and problem solving to young students in our community.”

Navaeh began leading a group of EAST students from North Little Rock High School to teach the younger generation at Crestwood Elementary School about EAST.

“We teach the kids a wide variety of different STEM skills during our sessions,” Navaeh said. “Some examples are how they learn coding skills by creating simple codes for different activities. They learn engineering skills such as designing and building machines, structures, and bridges. They learn how to identify Newton's laws while doing experiments that involve gravity, motion, and forces. We also teach them how to problem solve and work together which are both essential EAST skills.”

This effort from the high school students is planting the seeds for future EAST students, as children at Crestwood Elementary are already making their plans to join EAST when they get the chance.

“The kids have definitely become excited about EAST,” Navaeh said. “They always ask us a ton of questions about the program and all it has to offer. Some are even already coming up with ideas of what they want to do when they eventually join in the future! Overall, they absolutely seem extremely excited to learn about the program and hopefully join in the future.”

As for how this experience impacted Navaeh personally, she says that she has learned skills not too dissimilar to those found in a facilitator. 

“Throughout this experience while teaching them, I have learned interpersonal, communication, and leadership skills,” Nevaeh said. “I have also learned how to stay motivated when things are moving slowly, and also how to be motivational to someone else when they need help. Most importantly, I have learned how to see potential in people and how to help them grow into that potential.” 

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