S.T.R.E.A.M. – Adding the “R” to S.T.E.A.M.

The STEM acronym was introduced in 2001 by scientific administrators at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Since that time, STEM-focused curriculum has been extended to many countries beyond the United States. In the early 2000s, the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics became increasingly integrated following the publication of several key reports. In particular, a report from the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, emphasized the links between prosperity, knowledge-intensive jobs dependent on science and technology, and continued innovation to address societal problems.

U.S. students were not achieving in the STEM disciplines at the same rate as students in other countries. The report predicted dire consequences if the country could not compete in the global economy as the result of a poorly prepared workforce. This resulted in the focus on science, mathematics, and technology in education.

Not long after the introduction and popularization of STEM, we realized we had left out the arts, so we added an “A” to create a new acronym, STEAM. Now, that the importance of positive relationships has become so evident, we are adding the most important letter of all, “R” for relationships.

Relationships impact children one way or another, altering the course of their lives. When relationships are prioritized in education, it makes it easier for our teaching methods, curriculum, materials and assessments to be what they were meant to be. When children’s wildly creative ideas and questions are taken seriously, amazing things can happen. We can form relationships, not just among children and adults, but even with nature.

The addition of the “R” provides ways to ground science learning for young children directly in the realm of relationships. Stepping Stone School is now actively incorporating the “R” into our STEAM programing, enhancing our Platinum Learning for Life™ curriculum. We help children explore and retain technical, scientific, mathematical, engineering and artistic concepts incorporating games, music, drawing, movement and experiments through creative and exciting engagement and group activities. Including “relationships” has a direct correlation with our existing social and emotional, and character development curriculum.

You will be seeing changes made to our website and other materials as we complete the “R” integration. Stay tuned for more!


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