A COMPLETE EDUCATION
Most of you are by now fully familiar with STEM, the acronym that refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. It is both an interdisciplinary teaching approach as well as a cheerleading squad for the hard sciences. There are numerous conferences and even a Hall of Fame. Those I spoke to who attended the massive STEM event, the USA Science & Engineering Festival (325,000 visitors in 4 days), were highly excited by the educational and economic opportunities for those in the play industries.
The STEAM movement has arisen as a reaction to the success of STEM and the recognition that the arts are underserved in our schools. STEAM (the A stands for Arts) seeks to secure funding and focus on the arts as part of creating fully integrated, well educated adults of the future.
So, with the goal of creating, truly healthy and fully educated children, I would like to propose STEAM-E (the E stands for Exercise). If you think the arts are underfunded, simple recreation has almost disappeared from children’s lives.
Don’t confuse playtime at school with organized sport. Football and other major sports are typically well funded in schools. Simple play or exercise or whatever you want to call it is underfunded not in terms of dollars (running around outside does not call for fancy equipment; just an open field) but in terms of time. Schools are unwilling to invest the time in children exercising, doing somersaults, playing tag, tossing a ball and doing whatever fun and silly thing they want to do. Recess, if available, is down to 15 minutes a day.
Children need the sciences; children need the arts and children need to move, to play and to simply run around. STEAM-E seeks to integrate play and movement as essential components for creating well educated, happy children who will turn into healthy adults.
Let’s get STEAM-E.