Free Fun in Austin would like to introduce a relatively new preschool in town, Austin STEM Academy. Three years young, but with decades of experience in early childhood education and at the height of innovation for child-centered curriculum and classroom design, Austin STEM Academy is currently enrolling for its Little Einsteins classroom. Read about this unique local preschool and schedule a free tour! Thanks to our friends at Austin STEM Academy for providing this guest post.
What is Austin STEM Academy?
Austin STEM Academy is the first STEM preschool in Austin. Offering competitively-priced, flexible schedules with two, three or five day per week options as well as afternoon half-day MDO, Austin STEM Academy boasts a stellar level of education and top-notch staff providing the utmost care.
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The school originated as the brainchild of owner and Executive Director Gina Morales, when she had trouble finding a preschool in Austin that was just right for her child. Gina found it fascinating growing alongside her son Oliver, him as a little person, and her as a mom. When the time came to put him in preschool, she decided that starting a school for him to attend, where she could share her passion for education, was the only option that made sense.
STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education has become a popular topic, extending from local boards of education to Capitol Hill. While daycare and preschool are responsible for nurturing a child’s social skills and emotional development, it is equally as important for early childhood educators to foster skills in logic and analysis as well. Recent studies have shown a correlation between a child’s success in the STEM disciplines and achievements and successes in other disciplines, such as reading and comprehension.
STEM is more than just science, technology, engineering and math as isolated disciplines. It’s a mindset, a way of looking at the world that allows for connection, responsibility and innovation.
Engaging in exploration of the world and the way it works, designing solutions to everyday problems and learning perseverance through experimentation leads to improved ways of collaborating and communicating that produce true compassion for each other and the natural world.
Young children feel responsibility for their world when they participate in exploring real world problems, and their solutions and insights often provide a creative perspective, adding to the existing conversation and leading to innovation.
Despite the astonishing results of extensive research, our country continues to see a downward trend of STEM prepared students entering college. Introducing STEM through early childhood education, with a curriculum designed just for them, adequately nourishes a child’s innate propensity to discover through play and explore the unknown with unyielding curiosity.
We all know that young children innately possess an insatiable curiosity and an incredible ability to soak up language, love to tinker and experiment, practice skills in their own way, and are relentless in practicing those skills to mastery.
This innate disposition is to be fiercely protected and compassionately nurtured if we are to improve the way children are educated. STEM gives young children a framework and a common language in their exploration of and participation for life, and gives them the tools they need to transform the world.
Austin STEM Academy’s curriculum honors this natural curiosity and offers engaging science experiments and invitations to play that focus on critical early concepts in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.
The teachers view young learners as resilient problem-solvers that are capable and extremely aware of their environment. Their innovative curriculum draws from approaches like Reggio-Emilia and from aligned standards documents to ignite children’s passion for learning by capitalizing on their natural curiosity and eagerness to learn about the world around them and how it works.
The curriculum focus at the preschool is STEM, but the primary focus is the development of the whole child. Literacy as well as STEM, the arts, and social/emotional development are all taught as students move through monthly themes covering “big questions.” These questions lead to experiments, projects, dramatic play and reading and writing that allow children to grow, develop and focus on how to become better people, better friends, better leaders and better community members.
At the core of STEM education are 21st century skills, often referred to as the 4 Cs: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity.
EFFECTIVE AND COLLABORATIVE COMMUNICATORS
Effective collaboration and communication is a cornerstone of social/emotional development. Students work in groups on experiments and help each other solve complex engineering and math problems. The teacher models, coaches and provides scripts that empower children to listen to each other, share ideas and value one another’s contributions.
Fun, inviting and engaging engineering design challenges create an environment that sparks the imagination and leads naturally to innovation.
CONFIDENT AND CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVERS
Focusing on “growing” confident children and creative problem solvers builds skills students will need in the future not only to be successful but also to stand out as leaders.
RESPONSIBLE DIGITAL MEDIA CONSUMERS
Responsible media consumption is becoming more and more important. Every day our children are engulfed in the never ending messages that come from all forms of media. By using technology and media as a tool at Austin STEM Academy we can teach children how to manage their exposure, and how to evaluate and engage with what they are seeing.
These 21st century skills take learning above and beyond and allow even the youngest children to fully participate in life. Engaging in exploration of the world and the way it works, designing solutions to everyday problems, and learning perseverance through experimentation lead to improved ways of collaborating and communicating that produce true compassion for each other and the natural world.
With the goal of building compassionate innovators, the academy offers three programs—two days a week, three days a week, or five—to fit every child’s and family’s unique educational and scheduling needs. All programs are available in English or Spanish, with English sessions taking place in the mornings and Spanish in the afternoon.
Austin STEM Academy is the only preschool in the Austin area that offers a STEM-based early childhood curriculum. We use a problem-based learning approach to engage children in exploring relevant, developmentally-appropriate questions and real-world problems.
Austin STEM Academy is a community of families who are committed to building a better tomorrow.
Austin STEM Academy understands the hard work you’ve put into raising, nurturing and shaping your child into one of the adults who will change the world of tomorrow. That’s why the school offers a curriculum which perfectly complements your loving home with an educational environment that enriches your child in equal measure with your nurturing.
Located at 3701 Kerbey Lane in central Austin, Austin STEM Academy is convenient for families all over town. The admissions process is simple and straightforward: Just schedule a tour online to experience the school in person, sign up for the waiting list online (if applying for a morning program), and then fill out the online enrollment form. You can also learn more about the school online, check out tuition and fees, or check out the school’s educational philosophy, curriculum and objectives. Note that Austin STEM Academy is enrolling now for its Little Einsteins classroom.
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