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What is S.T.E.A.M.?

What is STEAM and what does it look like at the Early Childhood level?

At Sheldon ECA, we renovated the existing computer lab because it was not an effective way for our students to explore technology. The result was an exploration lab, with the best elements of the STEAM and maker space movement.

  • STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) is an educational approach to learning that uses science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.
  • STEAM's foundations lie in inquiry, critical thinking, and process based learning. These are some 21st century skills that your student will need to thrive in an increasingly technological world.




  • Science - Children are naturally little scientists. They are inquisitive as to how the world works. Children find patterns and build their own theories to explain what they see and collect "data" to test those theories. Much like scientists, children learn from others. They watch what others do and learn by repeating what they've seen or by asking questions and seeing the results.


  • Technology - Technology in STEAM means any type of man-made object or invention. This includes simple gears, gadgets, and tools, up to highly advanced technology such as robotics and coding. Learning to properly use technology can give the students an understanding of how these tools or inventions help us accomplish tasks.


  • Engineering - Engineering applies science, math, and technology to solving problems. It helps students understand how and why things work by using materials, designing, crafting, and building, redesigning, and rebuilding. Through trial and error, children are using the design process of engineering in everyday life.


  • Arts - Creative expression. Art is what separates STEAM from STEM. A creative mind is a critical component in STEAM. Children enjoy painting, dramatic play, music, and free-drawing. Art is a sensorial activity providing students the opportunity to feel the paint on their fingers, or see the colors change when mixed with others. Research shows that early experience with creative arts supports cognitive development and increases self esteem.


  • Math - Math is a tool children use everyday! From a young age, children explore everyday mathematics, including informal knowledge of "more" and "less," shape, size, sequencing (patterns), volume, and distance. The basic math skills teachers provide in early childhood set the building blocks for academic success. Math is like a gym for the brain.