According to retired school teacher Jacquetta Owen, “the educator in me just won’t quit.” Jacquetta is so energized by working with kids, teaching new skills and seeing their “ah-ha” moments. Jacquetta had several reasons for leading the week-long STEAM Art Camp, August 10-14. First, the educational part – working with individual students to problem solve and create. Second, share our Stephens City United Methodist Church (SCUMC) family and opportunities with families with elementary school age children to gainfully involve them in the church activities. Third, bring in “helpers”, visiting teachers, for their expertise in various fields, again to let them know we are a loving and active church. Fourth, generate additional funds to the daycare and church, although about half of the registration fee supports procurement of art supplies. All the support personnel are volunteers and graciously share their gifts.
In recent years, STEAM education—the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics—has become a national priority. This focus has been driven by concerns over international competitiveness, dating back to the early days of the space race. The focus is also fueled by data reflecting our youth are not graduating with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly-evolving, technologically-driven workforce. A third reason for the focus—one that is particularly important when considering the education of younger children—is the role of STEAM in shaping our state-of-the-art lifestyles.
The STEAM Art Camp is organized through the SCUMC daycare program which maintains a license to care for students from age 5 through age 11. Jacquetta also recognized that the art camp was most conducive (in a COVID-19 environment) to working outside with safe social distancing and keeping supplies available for each individual (no sharing). Art was the only subject that did not involve functioning in groups and sharing materials. All 10 student slots were quickly filled.
During the five day, three-hour classes, students enjoyed multi-sensory experiences, strengthening fine motor skills, enhancing color and shape awareness, improving resourcefulness and problem solving abilities while completing various art projects. The students learned new vocabulary (aurora borealis and symmetry), explored using measuring techniques and found joy in experimenting with new materials. The week-long activities also involved stained glass pictures, 3-D chalk pictures, pop-up card making, shaving cream art and creating mandalas.
“STEAM understanding can no longer be provided just to elite students; all children need the underlying thinking personalities and understanding to succeed in a STEAM-driven economy and world,” Jacquetta said. For more information on future SCUMC STEAM classes, contact Jacquetta Owen at [email protected].