One of the best parts of working at the Seed is curriculum planning. It’s been especially enjoyable this year with the addition of STEAM to our already creative approach to education. We’ve always had a good handle on the arts, so integrating science, technology, engineering and math in a more intentional way wasn’t all that much of a stretch. What I love about this year is how the staff has embraced the approach wholeheartedly, beginning with the toddlers all the way through the 3rd/4th graders. Each class has its own expression, all with equal passion. There’s so much enthusiasm for this work that we also decided to make it the focus of our summer arts camp, which we’re calling “Gathering STEAM.”
The summer program, from an arts perspective, will offer six weeks of science, technology, engineering and math. Here are the weekly topics the teachers brainstormed a few weeks ago:
• Shapes, Colors and Patterns
• Potions and Mixtures
• Skyscrapers and Habitats
• Water Ways
• Tinker Thinkers
• Shadows and Light
My favorite aspect of the process is the way the general structure emerges, yet leaving plenty of space and freedom for individual teachers to express their specific interests and/or grade level needs. We work from a solid foundation of best practices for children, then allow it to come forth organically. When one teacher shares an idea, others offer encouragement and additional ideas from which to spin off. As ideas are generated, teachers have strong ownership of the process. This is the way we’ve worked on the STEAM curriculum, and will continue to in the future.
All year we’ve created hallway displays, written blogs and shared images of this work on the Seed’s Facebook page. It’s important to us that you see and know what we’re doing. We want you to witness STEAM in action. On Wednesday, February 18, from 3:15 to 5 P. M. we’re hosting our first annual Invention Convention. Each class will have a table display of individual classroom projects. We’ll have the 3rd/4th grade classroom open as our “exploratorium” where children will have access to materials and equipment to demonstrate their skills as scientists, engineers and mathematicians. The event will be set up so children ages three and older can be tour guides for their parents. We invite you to check it out and catch a first-hand glimpse of STEAM at the Seed. I’m certain you’ll be impressed.