Moving From STEM to STEAM: Long Island Lutheran Day School Promotes Arts in Elementary Curriculum

Industry: Education

Long Island Lutheran Day School in East Northport, NY, has made a strong commitment to including the arts as part of their students’ education.

Brookville, NY (PRUnderground) December 2nd, 2015

What we expect students to know and accomplish through their education is changing rapidly in the 21st century. They’re expected to master rigorous core-curriculum standards, as well as know how to transfer and apply knowledge to problem-solving in real-life situations. For a growing number of educators, that’s where the arts come into play.

For years teaching the arts has taken a back seat in many schools, due to time and/or financial restrictions. There’s also been a shift in focus toward state testing and STEM- (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) oriented curricula. Though STEM-focused teaching is popular – viewed as necessary to prepare students for a fast-moving, technology-oriented world – many educators believe that curricula incorporating the arts and creativity will have a greater chance of imparting useful knowledge.

The relationships between the arts and academics, and social outcomes, are associated with achievement in many areas, such as:

  • reading, literacy, and language
  • mathematics
  • social skills
  • thinking skills
  • motivation to learn
  • positive self and school environment

Interest in STEAM-oriented education is growing. Teachers around the nation are incorporating arts-based elements into STEM classes, transforming them from “STEM” into “STEAM.” Examples range from students building sculptures that illustrate the Fibonacci Sequence, to a plant-lifecycle science project that incorporate students’ own paintings. There’s a STEM To STEAM website that shares resources, and a STEAM Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Long Island Lutheran Day School in East Northport, NY, has made a strong commitment to including the arts as part of their students’ education. “We recognize that authentic learning happens when children make connections between the subjects they’re taught, and have opportunities to apply knowledge in a wide variety of settings,” says Michelle Marino, the school’s principal. “Through music, art, drama and movement included in our STEAM program, LuDay students are realizing those connections while building confidence and motivation,” Marino says.

A private independent school, LuDay is not bound to New York State testing regulations. This provides greater flexibility in curriculum, content and scheduling. “We prefer to encourage our students to participate in authentic learning experiences, by infusing choral, band, drama and fine-arts curriculum throughout their day. We believe this helps students to build strong academic and social connections, helping them develop personal talents and interests that will last a lifetime,” says Marino.

Research and experience clearly indicate that study of the arts leads to student achievement and success. Through a quality fine- and performing-arts program, children develop skills that are integral to school success and beyond. As Albert Einstein noted, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

About Long Island Lutheran

Located on two campuses along the north shore of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Long Island Lutheran is a leader in Christ-centered education. Serving more than 800 students from 2-year olds through Grade 12, Long Island Lutheran schools aim to provide students with the academic, social, and spiritual learning experiences that will shape them into responsible global citizens.

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