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How Adding “The Arts” Back to S.T.E.M. Helps Your Child

How Adding “The Arts” Back to S.T.E.M. Helps Your Child

September 02, 2022

Asheville, North Carolina, is arguably the most artistic city in the state. Located in the French Broad River Valley, surrounded by some of the tallest mountains on the East Coast, the setting itself is a work of art. 

Inspired by the unmatched beauty of the area, artists began relocating to the city and opening art galleries, especially in the old warehouses near the French Broad River. The River Arts District was born and is now considered a must-see among those who appreciate world-class art. 

It’s not just the visual arts; music and performing arts are an integral part of Appalachian culture. Since people settled in our area, storytelling, singing, writing music, performing plays, and the fine arts have been the lifeblood of people, especially when times were tough. Now, tourists visit Asheville specifically to see and hear the arts. 

For students in our area, studying the arts is an integral part of education. We realize that focusing on creativity in academics doesn’t have to be to the exclusion of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. However, there was a time when that sort of thinking was prevalent. S.T.E.A.M. is a system that reintroduces art back into S.T.E.M. 

In this article, we’re discussing how adding the arts back to STEM substantially improves the educational experience for your child. 

What Is STEM?

Early in the new millennium, STEM. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum integration gained popularity in the United States. One of the major goals of STEM was to prepare students for careers in these fields, which will make up a larger portion of the workforce in the future.

STEM can be effective in accomplishing those goals: 

“Children who study STEM also develop a variety of skills that are essential for success: critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity and innovation, communication, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, to name a few.” - Education Week.

Teachers, however, found that emphasizing these subjects at the expense of the arts left pupils lacking the abilities needed for creativity and cooperation in both the profession and everyday life. Thus, STEAM was born.

What Is STEAM?

In order to assist children in regaining what could have been lost due to an unbalanced focus on science, technology, and math, STEAM reintroduces an emphasis on creativity and imagination.

At Emmanuel Lutheran School, STEAM education begins in Kindergarten, and each year will build upon the previous year’s STEAM projects. Students will be able to see and come up with a process as they work together as teams to problem solve. This produces excitement in subjects that previously may have seemed boring.

Robotics, drones, 3D imaging, and more technology are used in the classroom to tie into all the concepts in the traditional classroom.

STEAM Helps Improve the Academic Experience for Students

Researchers examined how STEAM instruction in high-poverty primary schools in an urban area affects third- to fifth-graders comprehension of physical science in a 2016 study. According to the findings, children who merely received nine hours of STEAM instruction performed better in science.

According to a 2014 research, children's reading and numeracy skills, as well as their capacity to critically reflect on their own and their peers' work, may all be improved by the merging of STEAM and literacy.

STEAM schools have benefited from the reintroduction of the importance of arts education. A school in Vermont saw math proficiency increase from 17% to 66% after just seven years. Other institutions have experienced similar results.

STEAM Careers Are On the Rise

A few statistics supporting the reintroduction of the arts into STEM-based curricula:

  • While only expecting a 5% growth in STEM-specific occupations, the US Department of Labor projects an 8.8% increase in STEAM-related careers.
  • Almost $85,000 per year is the median salary for STEAM and STEM occupations, vs. slightly over $37,000 for all other occupations.
  • Four out of five STEAM college students claim they made up their minds to major in STEAM in high school or earlier.
  • On the other hand, just one in five STEM undergraduates think that their K-12 education adequately prepared them for the STEM courses that they are studying in college.

Your Student Can Experience STEAM in a Christian Environment

The great C.S. Lewis wrote:

“For me, reason is the natural organ of truth, but imagination is the organ of meaning. Imagination, producing new metaphors or revivifying old, is not the cause of truth, but its condition.”

To address issues and improve the world, we need more creative inventors. To spread the gospel's message of light and hope in the midst of darkness, the church needs creative leaders. The STEAM curriculum is releasing innovative truth-bearers into the world by ensuring that educators do not omit the arts from the academic process.

Emmanuel Lutheran School in Asheville is western North Carolina’s first and only Christian Parochial Christian STEAM school that empowers students using technology along with the arts to build confidence and inspire students to do great things past their middle school experiences. If you would like to know more about how your student will benefit from STEAM at ELS, contact us!