STEAM Learning for Parents: What is Steam Education?

STEAM education is a relatively recent concept, but its theories have already shown a lot of promise in helping teach curious kids about the world. You may have seen the acronym STEAM before, but are you familiar with what STEAM is in education?

We have adapted the STEAM education framework at PionCreator to help provide online instruction to kids aged 5-15 in a fun, engaging way. For more information about our classes, you can see our Frequently Asked Questions here.

This guide for parents will introduce you to the concept of STEAM education and at the end of the post, we will give five ideas to bring those ideas to your home.

a young girl watching a teacher on her laptop

What does STEAM stand for?

STEAM is an acronym for the subjects that it focuses on teaching in age-appropriate ways to children.

  • The S stands for Science

  • The T stands for Technology

  • The E stands for Engineering

  • The A stands for Arts

  • The M stands for Mathematics.

The focus on these subjects not only provides students with the knowledge and technical skills they need for working in the twenty-first century but also teaches them to think critically and creatively. Although for younger children, these concepts may seem advanced, it’s amazing how young kids can learn the basics of STEAM in fun ways!

What values are important for STEAM education?

You may remember science and mathematics classes being full of lectures and repetition on topics that may not have been taught in an appealing way. STEAM education takes a different approach to these topics by incorporating art and technology to make the classes interactive and fun.

STEAM education engages students’ natural curiosity to encourage kids to explore subjects they’re interested in, which helps them get motivated to learn. It emphasizes the importance of giving students the tools they need to explore topics both inside and outside the classroom. One of the goals of STEAM education is to help students grow into creators.

At PionCreator, we combine the values of STEAM education with the values of Project-Based Learning. Project-Based Learning provides students with guided practice and goals to accomplish, so they learn first-hand, in-depth understanding of the subject matter. Project-based classes also promote creativity, critical thinking, and perseverance. Combining this with STEAM education reinforces the benefits of both frameworks to create an encouraging, fun environment for students.

What does STEAM do for students?

Kids educated using STEAM learn problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration skills. Problem-solving and critical thinking skills help kids in every area of their lives, from making big life decisions to overcoming obstacles in everyday life. Knowing how to collaborate in groups is also an important ability for both a person’s personal and professional lives. This is also true at PionCreator, where we teach in small groups so students have the opportunity to interact with other creators their age with their interests.

Learning technical skills will also help your child when choosing a career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the year 2021, careers using science, technology, engineering, and mathematics earned over twice as much as careers not requiring those skills. The median wage for careers with these technical skills was $95,420, while those without earned $40,120. Even for students not going into careers using this technology, though, an understanding of problem-solving and collaboration will help anyone in any career.

On the other hand, some kids aren’t waiting to start their careers in technology until they grow up! Kids who are creators, like Ryan Kaji, are already making a name for themselves and showing everyone that it’s never too early to start making your dreams come true.

Where did STEAM education come from?

The acronym originated from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) in 2001 when by the National Science Foundation. At the time, the students in the United States were underperforming in these subjects as compared to other countries, and a bipartisan push emphasized the importance of these topics. Later, Georgette Yakman created the STEAM framework to integrate art into STEAM based on her pedagogical research. The difference between STEM and STEAM is the inclusion of art. The idea of using art to teach scientific and technological concepts has gained support because art is such a useful tool to keep children engaged and interested. At PionCreator, it’s important to us that your child is having fun while they learn!

How do I implement STEAM at home?

Whether you feel like your kid isn’t getting the introduction to STEAM they need through their current education or you just want to engage a curious child, implementing STEAM practices at home is a great way to help your child grasp technical concepts.

  • Provide your kid with technology: Children who are provided with access to tablets, computers, and other devices and shown to use them with adult guidance will grow into adults who are comfortable around technology.

  • Take walks: Spend some time with your kid outdoors and explain some of the reasons why nature acts the way it does. Learning why the leaves change color or why the sky is blue will be a lot more meaningful to your child while on a small adventure with someone they love.

  • Engage your child’s curiosity: When your kid asks a question, try your best to find the answer for them! This could take the form of learning about scientific concepts and explaining yourself or providing books, programs, and other resources.

  • Cook at home: Explain the art and science of cooking to your child. They will learn to measure and enjoy creating with you!

  • Sign your child up for a class with PionCreator: With PionCreator, your child will learn about technology using the principles of STEAM. Want to learn more? Sign up for one of our free trial classes.

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