What's the A in STEAM education?
You might be familiar with the term ‘STEM’ - it refers to science, technology, engineering and maths. The importance of STEM education is spoken about widely, linked to the rise of new and emerging careers in these subject areas; as the world becomes more technologically and scientifically advanced, so do jobs and the skills needed to do them, so a STEM education is vital for modern children.
It is argued, however, that STEM misses some key components that many employers, educators, and parents agree are critical for modern children to thrive, both in the present and in their future lives and careers.
STEAM refers to the STEM subjects plus the addition of ‘arts’. It is a way to complete the package of STEM learning by integrating the principles of creative thinking and applied arts. In doing so, students learn to apply their STEM skills and knowledge to real-world situations.
STEAM education is about more than just teaching children these select subjects; it’s a model of education that embraces teaching skills and subjects in a way that resembles real life; truly preparing children for life beyond school. Instead of teaching disciplines and subjects independently, STEAM lessons have a focus on interdisciplinary learning. Rarely does a job require only one skill set to be used in silo. Take an architect, for example; they use skills and knowledge in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths together to allow them to design structures. By combining the teaching of subject skills and knowledge, we are also teaching children how to apply them in a real-world context.
STEAM teaching is often project or inquiry-based, giving students the opportunity to flex all of their STEAM skills together to approach and solve problems. This approach gives children the skills and confidence to not just learn principles but to apply them in innovative ways; to solve real-world problems creatively; to become makers!
Better yet, STEAM education aligns with the way children learn from an early age. You can encourage your child’s interest in STEAM by encouraging them to be curious, ask questions, explore their surroundings, and play! You can also sign your child up for STEAM-based courses for a more formal STEAM education. Click here to browse a range of online STEAM courses for children aged 6-14.