How CIS is incorporating STEAM in educating young minds

The STEAM approach to education is a relatively new concept and is increasingly being adopted by leading schools around the globe for its well rounded, balanced, and multi-faceted teaching philosophy. STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. The basic philosophy focuses on how all these subjects are related to each other and to the real world. STEAM is believed todo away withthe traditional way of teaching subjects in isolation and emphasizes on learning as a framework of interrelated teachings that aid superior understanding of concepts. It encourages thinking and stresses on the process of learning as much as on the result.

Take for example, The Canadian International School (CIS),which usesthe STEAM method of teaching. Kindergarten students start learning shapes, alphabets, colours, and numbers both in the classroom as well as outdoors through its ODC (outdoor activity centre). CIS claims that with a strong foundation in basics, children are better equipped to handle learning in the next phases.They get to play with stones, leaves, in the mud pit, and understanding natural growth. This helps create an overall picture and interconnection between subjects like science and mathematics. An art integration specialist has created a kindergarten version of a'Makerspace room', especially for the little ones to go about creating, exploring and building with different kinds of materials. There's also an educational technology coachwho helps students get comfortable with iPads and other gadgets, aiding the need for more tech savvy students.

Further, in the higher grades, students are gradually introduced to concepts that are more complicated. Chemical compounds and their reactions that help create daily usage items like detergent and toothpaste, sowing seeds and monitoring their growthinto plants bearing fruits and vegetables, and learning mathematical equations that help understand how buildings are designed are some of the examples of how the STEAM approachworks. Every concept taught is said to relate to the real world and when students understand that connection, it helps reinforce the fundamentals and build strong foundations for every discipline. If this is the approach, then subjects are no longer just learnt but are truly understood. CIS also boasts of its makerspace room that is equipped with state-of-the-art gadgets like 3D printers, newspaperstixx rolling machine, etc.Students are exposed to this in the early stages,right from grade 1, in order to inspire them to design, experiment, build, and invent.

STEAM is believed to encourage children to think outside the box, ask, and answer questions. The process of learning and making mistakes is appreciated just as much as the final output is, and schools like CISprovide all the necessary infrastructure, opportunities and right educators that help fulfil and facilitate these goals. Students would also learn to appreciate and respect their own skills as well as the skills of their peers. With STEAM as a guiding philosophy, we as parents can be assured that our kids are not only educated in regular subjects, but also have a greater understanding of each discipline and are future ready.

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