This summer Village Glen School introduced STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math – an exciting new multi-disciplinary curriculum that incorporates hands-on, project-based learning to prepare our students for success in the 21st century by encouraging creativity, critical thinking skills and problem solving strategies. Students this summer took classes in Robotics, The Physics of Fun (an exploration of physical concepts such as friction, gravity and acceleration at work in fun constructions such as roller coasters), and Innovation (a class in which students had to find creative solutions to assigned problems given minimal set resources). Fall course offerings include two Robotics Engineering classes, AP Biology, AP Statistics, and other STEAM related options.
A key element of the new STEAM program is its Innovation Lab, where students have everything they need to apply lessons toward real-life problem solving: walls made from erasable white boards to write and conceptualize projects, movable tables and chairs to reconfigure the Lab as needed, and access to a wide range of tools and materials. Teachers and students from Village Glen School’s Elementary, Middle and High School will use this dynamic, engaging space to explore and test classroom theories and concepts.
According to Dr. Susan Berman, “We pride ourselves in anticipating the needs of the community and designing innovative, evidence-based, empirically designed programs for our students. Implementing an integrated STEAM curriculum will give our Village Glen students with high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Disorder the skills and tools they need to compete and succeed in a rigorous college environment and the demanding 21st century workforce.”
Dr. Diane Flannery, Help Group Director of Program Design, elaborated further, “The STEAM curriculum harnesses the strengths of our Village Glen students – their interest in technology, their problem-solving skills, and their ability to focus and hone in on a given task – while creating opportunities to address some of the social challenges that can accompany high-functioning autism. Working in teams on projects gives the students practical experience in communicating and collaborating with their peers, learning how to give and receive constructive criticism, and developing a sense of resilience and flexibility. These are all real-world transferrable skills that our students will take with them when they graduate from high school.”
The response from Village Glen students to this new program has been overwhelmingly positive. High school student Liam explained, “Because of the STEAM program, I was really excited to come back to school this fall.”
To learn more about Village Glen School, visit www.villageglen.org.