STEAM Education

 

Why STEAM?

While most people are familiar with STEM fields and education, at Global Village Project we practice a STEAM framework - Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. Arts are a vital part of our integrated curriculum. When a refugee learner has limited English and is dealing with the trauma of loss and displacement, arts integration gives her a way to express herself and her experiences.

In many schools, older newcomers who are learning English and literacy are underserved by existing STEAM or STEM programs. They are often restricted from “special” programming (like the arts) because it is generally accepted that newcomers need to spend more time on “the basics” so that they can catch up with their peers.

Instead, at GVP we’ve found that developing 21st century skills through STEAM improves our students’ overall academic performance. We rely on hands-on learning and incorporate ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) instruction to support students in STEAM learning. Our teachers collaborate to plan an integrated curriculum across all content areas, including the arts. Integration makes learning more meaningful and powerful, and STEAM allows for multiple ways to make and express meaning, while drawing on students’ strengths and real world experiences.

Career Exploration

According to the National Science Foundation, women make up 46.7% of the American workforce, but only 2% of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals.

At GVP, we are committed to opening girls’ eyes to the possibilities and potential of these fields. We focus on career exploration and host an annual Career Day event each spring. Mentors also assist students and alumnae along the educational and career pathway by providing opportunities for STEAM-oriented mentor program activities. GVP students are better prepared for and more successful in high school and for future study and careers through their exposure to STEAM.

What does STEAM look like?

At GVP, we put our STEAM framework into practice by:

  • Recruiting specialized staff - like our Arts Coordinator, Literacy Coordinator, and Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator - to support our faculty in guiding STEAM program implementation.
  • Collaborating with partners like local universities, community partners, and nonprofit organizations to develop instructional methods and curriculum and gather appropriate resources and materials for our newcomer students
  • Using technology throughout the program with iPads, interactive whiteboards, document cameras, MacBook Pro laptops, and software and programs such as IXL and Lexia Core5
  • Creating integrated units of study across content areas that culminate in projects and performances, while also offering separate STEAM classes (computer science and coding, Lego robotics, etc.)
  • Providing learning expeditions and field trips throughout the year, which allow students to apply their learning in a hands-on environment. Each year, GVP students visit multiple partner organizations throughout metro Atlanta for the purpose of arts, science, career, and cultural learning.
  • Expanding our media center for the alignment of texts and resources with STEAM programming; developing capacity of library/media center to provide integration support to program (field trip preparation, research reports and presentations, technology support for presentations, growing multimedia resources, etc.)

Arts Integration

Since our inception in 2009, GVP has embraced the arts as part of our educational program. Our students come with rich knowledge and resources (including songs, stories, dances, handicrafts, and more) and are encouraged to share and develop these through our arts program. It is widely understood that integrating arts allows for a more holistic approach to education, attending to the social, emotional, creative, physical, and intellectual needs of students.

We believe that creative pursuits teach the kind of innovative thinking and curiosity which serious science demands.

In addition to weekly music and drama classes, instrument lessons, and participation in the GVP Chorus, we offer our students opportunities to participate in various arts classes with guest teaching artists. Synchronicity Theater’s Playmaking for Girls teaching artists have taught weekly drama classes at GVP since 2015. We’ve hosted teaching artists in Chinese dance, participated in digital storytelling with students and professors from Agnes Scott College, visited the High Museum of Art for visual arts classes, and much more. Field trips include plays and musical performances, and we encourage students to showcase their own arts learning at Author’s Teas, special performances, and presentations.

Through these experiences, students are stretched and empowered to become confident students and leaders, and provided with the tools needed to pursue their dreams for school and in life.