STEAM Learning at La Casa Preschool
La Casa Preschool is a play based preschool meaning that we believe that children learn through guided play, exploration, experimentation, discovery, and problem solving. Much like this recent AAP study, we believe that most powerful way children learn isn't only in classrooms or libraries, but rather on playgrounds and in playrooms. Where we are unique is that we also understand the importance of integrating STEAM concepts into our early childhood curriculum.
What Is STEAM?
STEAM is an approach in education that is being integrated into classrooms all around the world. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics. Rather than teaching these curriculum areas in isolation, STEAM is about combining these subject areas together, so that elements of each subject are applied to others. This method gives students to have opportunity to experience learning in new ways and develop problem-solving skills.
Integrating STEAM into Play Based Curriculum
Through their play, our students (ages 2 1/2 - 5) learn STEAM fundamentals (language and literacy, mathematical and scientific concepts); how to make, build, design and write their ideas; how to explore the opportunities put before them and to accept the challenge and risk of new things. Each opportunity to learn becomes relevant and meaningful to students when allowed to freely manipulate, investigate, disassemble, recreate or become immersed in an unscripted setting. For example, we regularly hold "STEAM Fairs" for our students in which a set of blocks becomes a lesson in geometry and a discarded key board transforms into a command center for telecommunications to the farthest space station outpost. Magnetic tiles become a skyscraper complete with annex buildings and infrastructure. Crayons, markers, paint brushes are the tools of master artisans and designers. None comes with instructions or parameters, judgement or limits. Our STEAM curriculum follows NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) best practices. Through these activities, we are preparing our students for kindergarten and beyond.