During the week of March 18-22, 2019, the Natick Preschool celebrated STEAM Week and WOW what a week it was! Preschool students and parents learned how science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) combine to spark curiosity, provide deep engagement, and fun for all!
During the week each classroom transformed, on one day, into an inquiry and creativity lab with ten stations. Parents and students moved through all or some of the stations with the preschooler as the learning guide. Activities ranged from a chemical reaction to make a model volcano erupt, the physics of launching catapults, coding robots to create beautiful art, creating new species of dinosaurs with original paintings, and traveling virtually to Mexico to be with the wintering Monarch butterflies! Rooms were decorated with models of Robots, Artwork, Poems. Participants listened to original songs composed by the preschoolers and did experiments using their math, science, and music skills. Each station was thoughtfully designed and aligned to the Massachusetts standards for preschoolers and parents to explore, experiment, create and have fun.
As STEM education gains priority in schools around the country many are integrating arts into the mix. Why art? It belongs there, says Harvey Seifter, founder of the Art of Science Learning. He reminds us it was only in the last century that a model of education emerged which strictly separated art and the sciences. “It’s not a natural separation, and there are some pretty powerful forces driving the two back together.” Art can spark creativity in young scientists and engineers, develop observational abilities, and strengthen collaborative skills, and it is “a powerful and rich tool in the hands of educators who are prepared to use it,” Seifter says. Claudia Price, Preschool teacher at Lilja when asked how this experience has been for the students commented that, “at this age they are just so open, so curious to try new things and to explore. It’s really great!!”
Fortunately, you don’t need high-tech gadgetry or an art-school degree to offer STEAM projects, just a willingness to work together and try something new and that’s what our amazing PK educators did so well this week!
To see photos and video from the PK classrooms visit #natickpreschoolsteamweek on Twitter.