STEM in the Beginning School
Teachers weave fun, hands-on activities into curriculum to amplify student interest in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math.
There is strong evidence to support the benefit of block play in helping young children understand and practice concepts in math, writing, reading, engineering, and motor and social skills. Our Beginning School leaders follow the research of University of Denver Professor Douglas Clements, who has made the case for block play as a learning tool in the journal Science. Clements said there's no time in a student’s academic life more important than preschool, and no learning more important than building a solid foundation in mathematics.
Beginning schoolers use many tools—adaptable ramps and balls, a wind tunnel, a captivating assortment of blocks—to discover and learn concepts in architecture and engineering. Director of Technology Integration Christian Waters often introduces the fundamentals of electricity to students in a kindergarten classroom using “conductive play dough.” There are gasps of excitement and plenty of laughter as Mr. Waters sketches out the flow of electric current along a conductor—adding a happy face to the completed circuit. All year long, Beginning School teachers provide opportunities for children to explore ways to think like engineers.
Learning to think critically is not an overnight process, and neither is the growth of a pumpkin. Rowland Hall’s 4PreK pumpkin studies may just be the perfect example of how young children acquire the ability to develop a theory, hypothesize an outcome, and measure results, all without fully understanding the formal words for these processes. To them it feels like play. The children begin by planting pumpkins in the science garden, tending to and observing the growing gourds, taking a field trip to a pumpkin patch, then, as fall wanes, watching their pumpkins go back to seed. This is the gentle unfolding of a lifelong love of learning.
Every Beginning School classroom is led by two highly skilled educators, and our average student-teacher ratio is 9:1. Students and faculty develop rich, caring relationships—the foundation of excellent teaching and learning.