Quality Matters: Why Kids’ Country Loves STEAM
It’s the new school year and Kids’ Country is preparing to launch our Fall roster of STEAM-focused Enrichment classes for children ages 5 to 12. STEAM is science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Click here for information about upcoming classes.
So, why STEAM?
There has been considerable emphasis on STEM in the past several years. Schools want to expand integrated learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math to meet the needs of 21st Century workforce. But some educators are beginning to question whether STEM education without the arts, sports and humanities builds the real life collaborative and problem solving skills that children need or if STEM alone can close the achievement gap experienced by students from low-income communities. [See this informative article from The Washington Post.]
For the past few years, Kids’ Country has integrated the arts with STEM in formal and informal ways to give students a creative, hands on experience of critical thinking and problem solving. The focus on STEAM can be seen in our daily before and after school activities, our summer camps and our more specialized Enrichment classes. Students might collaborate on an idea, design and build prototypes, test them and figure out what works or doesn’t work. They tinker. They build websites, 3D cities, birdhouses, and Lego robots. They take things apart to see how they work. They create, animate, and score a story. They grow vegetables and flowers and study bugs. They also play flag football, train for a 5K run, draw, learn dance steps, and act in plays. Exposed to so many opportunities, Kids’ Country kids learn leadership and teamwork and are truly free to explore their passions.
We know that these activities help children become imaginative problem solvers and capable collaborators. The skills children build during out-of-school time not only enhance their academics, but gives them the experience of experimenting, succeeding, failing, and trying again without judgment or pressure.
Too often, Kids’ Country is seen only as child care, but we offer that and so much more. Our quality out-of-school time programs, including those focused on STEAM, are inspirational expanded learning opportunities for young people that keep them engaged and coming back for more.