As the school year comes to an end, it is imperative that we reflect on and learn from each student’s unique experience during this school year. Unlike the spring of 2020, where all students were learning from home, the 20-21 school year allowed for more flexibility for families to choose an educational delivery method that best fit their needs.
While there is no right or wrong answer when choosing between in-person, remote or hybrid learning environments, it is clear that remote and hybrid learning options did pose some challenges in the delivery and proportion of peer-to-peer interactive lessons and experiential learning opportunities. As schools begin to shift back to in-person instruction, it is essential that all students gain more exposure to these types of experiences to better prepare them for the approaching 21-22 school year. Through STEAM courses, students can become more comfortable with these environments again, learn new skills, and discover a new perspective about learning to bring into the new school year!
What is STEAM Education?
Before we discuss some benefits of STEAM education, let’s first define the term and what it may look like inside and outside of the classroom. In education, STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, all areas which require students to approach a task with creativity. STEAM education often presents itself in group activities, allowing students to develop their own ideas as well as provide and receive constructive feedback on the ideas presented.
Although this is a more formal example, the great part about STEAM education is that it is versatile and can be incorporated into a variety of different activities and environments. In daily life, STEAM topics are everywhere! Whether it be noticing the flowers growing, using cruise control on a road trip, passing a suspension bridge, seeing an outdoor mural or observing patterns such as honeycombs or seashells, there is plenty to explore. As the summer months quickly approach, utilizing a combination of formal activities and outdoor exploring is a brilliant formula for student engagement!
Three Positive Impacts of STEAM Education
Now that we have a handle on what STEAM education is, let’s think about the why. When there are so many other options for activities, why put an emphasis on this specific field? Here are three benefits to consider:
1. Reintroduction to Collaborative Environments
With some of our students removed physically from collaborative environments, the idea of a new school year different from the format students have become accustomed to can be met with some anxiety or concern from parents and students alike. Providing your student with a smaller scale trial of a similar environment can put both parties at ease, giving our students the confidence to start the 21-22 school year strong!
2. Development of Transferable New Skills
The interpersonal skills students learn through education in STEAM topics can be carried into their upcoming classes, especially when completing group projects. Similarly, the programs and concepts taught through experiential learning, such as 3D Modeling, Formulating a Hypothesis, and Engineering Design, can give students more background knowledge of topics presented to them in school, giving them a head start on classroom content.
3. Fostering an Innovative Mindset
As students begin a new school year, it truly is all about mindset. If a student thinks of learning, and by extension, school as a boring and laborious task, chances are they will not be very enthusiastic about going back to school. However, students who are introduced to different topics and ways of learning that are unique, interactive, and engaging can bring this eager and innovative mindset into the classroom with them.
In addition to these positive impacts, STEAM education is also incredibly important to ensure exposure to different fields and potential career paths, especially for our young girls. Knowing that being a Scientist, Technologist, Engineer, Artist, or Mathematician in the future is an option provides our students with choices that may not have been known previously.
Da Vinci’s Effort to Support Student Growth in the Summer Months
One of the areas that Da Vinci Collaborative is focusing on as we transition from remote and hybrid learning environments is to provide students with a safe and enjoyable way to begin collaborating in-person with their peers.
Through our new Summer Camp, Da Vinci is creating this exact environment to help our students grow during the summer months! Programs are customized for K-2 and 3-5 participants to ensure activities are fun, relevant, and have a tangible takeaway that can be applied outside of our center. Students will have STEAM education sessions at least once per day through interactive science experiments, engineering projects, 3D design, and 3D printing. Our days can also include Team Building Challenges, Expression through Arts and Crafts, and American Sign Language. The possibilities are endless for the designs and memories your student can create! You can check out our upcoming events and activities here.
Written by Christina Maragioglio, MS, Director of Technology and Learning
If you would like to discover how our programs can benefit your child, please visit our website or reach out to us to learn more about our summer camp and other related courses. We would love to work together to use STEAM education to help students start the new school year off with confidence!