STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and STEAM (the A is for Art) are two of the biggest buzzwords in public libraries and education, and the Clearview Library District offers more children’s programs steeped in these concepts than any other activity. Whether we are playing with robotics at Tech Library, honing our engineering skills with Playmags at Full STEAM Ahead, or tinkering with Makey Makeys at Tech Time, we provide a slew of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics activities in the Weld RE-4 school district almost daily.
We don’t stop at our school visits either: programs like Getting Crafty, Create, Girls Who Code, and Weird Science offer a chance for kids to engage in real-world science and technology activities. Our programming staff and guest programmers are armed with an acute understanding of STEM concepts: however, they are always quick to let children figure things out for themselves, pointing out why things work the way they do along the way. “Through play and art, children and families are offered opportunities to problem-solve together. For example, a child might want to build an elaborate tower for a favorite Lego toy using magnetic blocks, or a child might come to the craft table determined to make a robot. She will find a way to make the robot with whatever is provided that day. We are continually impressed with their creativity and resourcefulness, and hope that these qualities are fostered in STEAM programs, and will transfer to future endeavors,” says Kat Sharp, Children’s Outreach Librarian.
What’s the big deal about offering STEM opportunities for children? Though we live in a world immersed in science and engineering, and driven by technology, children in the United States perform well below their counterparts in developed nations in math and science. Coupled with the fact that females and minorities are still underrepresented in STEM fields in the U.S., the public library has a duty to offer programs that expose children to these important concepts. And while kids often make the point that they won’t need to use something like algebra in their daily lives post school, they will have to do adult things like balance a checkbook, file taxes, and prepare a meal, all of which require math and critical thinking.
Says Michael Ross, who helps coordinate several of the Library’s STEAM programs, “In Clearview Library District’s CREATE program, we incorporate STEAM elements in each session, so whether your child is interested in technology, art, or science, they have the option to experiment with their interests, and to learn by doing so.” Tucker Valentine, another staff member who provides STEAM programming, agrees: “STEAM programs like Tech Time, Full STEAM Ahead and Rec & Tech in the Park offer children and families opportunities to explore their creativity while also developing useful and lifelong skills through technology and art. These programs "disguise" learning by facilitating a relaxed and comfortable environment for kids to play and explore freely.”
When you are out in the community or sharing a meal with your neighbors, talk up the STEM programming offered by Clearview Library District. Let your friends and family know that the Library provides access to robotics, coding, engineering, mathematics, and so much more for the children in our community. Make sure everyone is aware that the Library is preparing children for a successful future!
(Referenced in this article: https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2015/05/18/making-for-stem-success/)