7 Benefits of S.T.E.A.M. Curriculum

September 10, 2018

At Dogwood Lane Children’s Academy, we use S.T.E.A.M. curriculum. People often ask, “What is S.T.E.A.M. and what are the benefits?” We’re happy to provide an overview below.

S.T.E.A.M. is a curriculum that emphasizes science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Many parents have heard of STEM curriculum, but S.T.E.A.M. adds the disciplines of “the arts” (this includes all arts — music, drama, dance, movement — not just visual art). But S.T.E.A.M. is more than adding an art or music project occasionally into your classroom curriculum. S.T.E.A.M. is an immersive teaching process that creates an integrative experience that engages and connects student learning.

STEM/STEAM is about encouraging students to build knowledge about the world around them by observing, asking questions, and investigating.

Benefits of S.T.E.A.M. include:

1. Learning how to think, not what to think.
Teachers who use S.T.E.A.M. are providing a unique value to students by teaching them how to think for themselves instead of teaching them how to regurgitate information in order to pass a test.

2. Holistic, cumulative and integrated learning instead of lessons siloed in individual subjects.
At Dogwood Lane, as students play, they’re learning. They’re just having fun, but we’re leveraging practical teaching methods to create a comprehensive learning atmosphere. Instead of moving students from classroom to classroom and subject to subject where they learn them one-by-one, they get them in an integrated and aggregated delivery. It’s proven to be more effective for long-term retention.

3. Interdisciplinary thinking.
With a proper S.T.E.A.M. approach, children do not learn by thinking about one subject at a time, but multiple subjects at the same time. In other words, they’re learning in the same way they’ll be applying their knowledge in the future. When we are problem solving as adults, we don’t cycle through individual subjects in our minds. We use pieces of various subjects to form the whole solution. S.T.E.A.M. teaches this process unlike any other.

For example, say a child grows to become an architect. When designing a building, they need to know math and engineering. They’ll draw from science as they’re using technology to create (art) a beautiful building. They use each of the disciplines simultaneously, so why would it make sense to learn them in any other way.

“Aimed at helping students develop vital transferable skills and learning across subjects, through experimentation, trial and error and creativity. S.T.E.A.M. is based on the understanding that innovation is often found where different subjects intersect. By learning these subjects at the same time, students consider a wider range of perspectives when solving a particular problem. Whereas traditional learning develops fact-based knowledge, our S.T.E.A.M. program will develop the skills needed to thrive – flexibility, critical thinking, creativity and communication.”

4. Combined engineering and art
Engineering and art were not always completely separate disciplines. Take Leonardo da Vinci, who seamlessly combined the two. These two subjects that have recently been thought of as opposite ends of the intellectual spectrum are actually quite complementary to each other. With our S.T.E.A.M. curriculum, we’re re-uniting the beautiful marriage of engineering and art, but at an age-appropriate level that sets children up for success.

5. Boosts both the intellect and creativity.
Science has proven that we grow and learn best when both sides of our brain are engaged simultaneously. S.T.E.A.M. combined with 21st Century learning techniques helps to boost both comprehension and ingenuity.

6. Meaningful collaboration and improved social skills.
As students explore the S.T.E.A.M. subjects together they learn valuable “soft skills” at an early age. Children will be able to solve problems with classmates, will learn cooperation, as well as responsibility. They’ll learn communication, leadership, and self-motivation as they play and have fun.

7. Encourages girls to explore STEM fields.
One of the tragedies is how the gender bias has affected female interest and entrance into math, science, engineering, and technology fields. The absence of females in these disciplines not only is harmful to the gender, but also hurts males and society as a whole. By introducing S.T.E.A.M. early on, we’re helping to pique female interest in the male-dominated fields in a way that isn’t threatening or harmful.

As you can see, a curriculum rich in S.T.E.A.M. provides many benefits and we’re excited to take advantage of the opportunity to use it to create a unique learning environment at Dogwood Lane Children’s Academy. Contact us to learn more about our specific uses of S.T.E.A.M.

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