Published : Friday, November 10, 2017 | 4:29 PM
Few people would argue that education is one of the most important factors that contribute to your child’s long-term success. While the ideas about the best way to educate children are constantly shifting, one methodology showing consistent success is STEM/STEAM education. Below, we discuss how a STEM/STEAM education is essential for preparing your children for the future.
What is STEM/STEAM?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. While these subjects have always been integral components in American schools, STEM education focuses on integrating the courses of study as a whole rather than dissecting them and teaching them as separate entities. This cross-disciplinary approach enhances critical thinking, integrates ideas from multiple subjects, and ultimately expands student learning. STEAM complements the STEM focus with the important addition of “Arts,” including classes in performing arts, language arts, and conceptual arts. Incorporating the arts into STEM provides an essential balance to a student’s overall learning experience.
STEM/STEAM education is built around the premise that to effectively teach a growing mind, it is critical to present areas of learning as a whole or the total sum of their parts. As an applied hands-on approach to learning, it instills valuable life skills such as creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and an expansive world view.
How does STEM/STEAM education help students?
STEM/STEAM education improves student engagement
A STEM/STEAM curriculum elevates traditional education by actively engaging children to understand how things work and by supporting early learners through creative questioning and thoughtful observation techniques. To do this, STEM/STEAM utilizes an inquiry-based learning approach that actively challenges students to ask and answer their own questions by exploring various possibilities and scenarios as they come up with a solution or series of solutions.
During a recent STEM Education Research and Practice Summit at Purdue University, Allison Wilson, Director of Curriculum and Innovation at Stratford School, shared strategic ways through which educators may incorporate inquiry-based learning in everyday activities. “The use of inquiry-based learning encourages children to develop key problem-solving skills that include observing and describing, explaining what they think will happen next, and making the distinction between observation and inference,” reflected Wilson. This integrated hands-on approach inherent in STEM/STEAM curricula has been shown to improve a student’s engagement, excitement for learning, and critical understanding of how individual subjects are interconnected.
STEM/STEAM sets children up for career success
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment occupations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are projected to grow by more than nine million between the years of 2012 and 2022. As a result, students who are educated within a STEM/ STEAM curriculum are likely to have significantly more job opportunities in the future than those who engage in traditional studies.
Additionally, those who have STEM careers earn more, on the average, than those in non-STEM–related fields. College graduates in STEM fields currently earn an average of $65,000 annually, while non-STEM majors earn $49,500 on average.
STEM/STEAM gives students a global competitive edge
Providing students with a STEM/STEAM education better equips young U.S. students to remain competitive in the global marketplace. The U.S. Bureau of Statistics estimates that science-, technology-, engineering-, and mathematics-related careers will grow twice as fast as other fields.
Even jobs that are not strictly in STEM fields will require technical skills. Currently, the U.S. falls behind six other countries in the percentage of people graduating from college with degrees in a STEM field. Only 26% of U.S. graduates hold a STEM degree, while 41% of Chinese students graduate in science, technology, engineering, or math. With the world continuously shifting in a technological direction, it is clear that a STEM/STEAM education is necessary to create the next generation of American leaders and innovators on the international stage.
STEM/STEAM leads to academic success
Statistics show that children who are engaged in an active learning (STEM) education show, on average, a 6% increase in examination scores, compared with students who attend traditional lecture-style classes. The Harvard Global Initiative asserts that a STEM/STEAM education “builds 21st-century competencies” and “prepares youth to participate in the future labor market where they will work together to address global challenges.” STEAM helps students to develop a diverse set of problem-solving skills and creative talents that they will need to become innovative leaders in our ever-changing world. To learn more about what STEM/STEAM education can do for your child, contact the team at Stratford School today.
Stratford School – Altadena, 2046 Allen Ave, Altadena, (626) 794-1000 or visit www.stratfordschools.com/find-your-campus/altadena.