Full STEAM Ahead at KUM!
I love my job. I get to move from classroom to classroom and see the exciting things that are happening at KUM. I have the ability to focus my lens on various learning situations and see value in it all. I observe children use language and communication skills while putting a puzzle together. I watch them use fine motor and literacy while busy at the writing center. But the one thing that I notice is the development of great scientists at our school! I LOVE to see this. There are so many reasons why….
Children are natural scientists.
Preschoolers can rapid-fire What if? How? and Why? questions that would make a college professor swoon. They are also keen observers. They love to investigate, explore, and experiment. They are even learning to articulate their findings and share them with others.
Science occurs naturally within a child’s daily life.
A teacher takes time to plan curriculum for her students. But science just HAPPENS! Children collect leaves and nature in the exploring place, they experiment with ramps (inclined planes,) during center time. Children learn about solids, liquids and gasses in the sensory table. Whenever a child has the opportunity to experience scientific concepts in an active, hands-on method, he/she has the opportunity to construct knowledge.
Science is Interdisciplinary
We have our students for such a short time, and we have a lot of concepts to teach in that amount of time. Learning goals and expectations can be integrated within a science theme. When our curriculum connects to other cognitive domains, it is makes the learning meaningful to the child and greater retention occurs.
The US Department of Education recently posted on Facebook that “knowledge and skills in STEM are becoming increasingly necessary for students to succeed in our global economy.” STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. It is a philosophy of best practices defined by the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC,) and the National Science Foundation (NSF,) which allow children to be actively engaged in their own learning. Children can tap into their curiosity about their world, allowing for the opportunity to ask questions and investigate.
The National Center for Educational Statistics reported in 2011 that less than 40% of 4th grade students achieved at or above proficient in the math and science portions of the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
STEM is at KUM- With the ARTS! (STEAM)
KUM offers opportunities for children to explore STEM-based activities in the classroom, during Thursday Clubs, and in the Atelier- with a ZING from the Arts. Research shows that scientists who have studied the arts are more innovative, divergent thinkers, and utilize both sides of their brain.
A little side note- everything that I have shared about our school so far supports the STEAM philosophy! Here are some other examples that STEAM happens at KUM:
Science- Observing insects, collecting nature, conducting science experiments.
Technology- Using photography to record our findings.
Engineering- Creating block structures, assembling puzzles, using pulleys off the loft, creating catapults, marble mazes, you name it!
Arts- Using recycled materials to create sculptures, shape challenges, magnetic painting, pendulum painting, sketching animals, trees and flowers.
Math- Counting objects, measurement using standard and non-standard units, comparing, classifying, 2D and 3D shapes.
Full STEAM Ahead!
KUM teachers attended a professional development workshop sponsored by the Magic House. This workshop offered teachers the opportunity to discover hands-on learning using integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics content which will allow students to make real-life connections through inquiry, collaboration and project-based learning.