What Is A STEAM Fed Humsel? (or why STEMs Need Flowers)

Author's Note- If this is the only blog post of ours to which you have ever navigated, please read this one. It is long. And it explains the mysteries of the universe (or at least our workshop universe, with a lower-case "u".) And if you keep going you'll find out what "steam-fed humsel" looks like.I follow a variety of boards and blogs about education. When someone posted this article about the "dangers of our obsession with STEM education" (coincidentally an article that we had also shared via our Facebook page), the comment thread quickly became entertaining (in a jolly way, as some tend to do.)  My favorite comment boiled down to this: the next acronym should be STEAMPHED to add P.E. because the acronym now represents all the stuff we should have been teaching our kids anyway. Take that idea to the next level: STEAMPHEDHUM? STEAMPHEDHUMSEL?If the STEM education movement and its associated acronym have become so heated, why would a company like ours ever use it to describe what we do at "an arts workshop" for kids and their families? Is STEM just a fad? The easiest answer is that we will always seek a vernacular that connects our services to the families with whom our philosophy resonates and families for whom we present an interesting alternative to their norm. On the web it's about SEO (yeah, another ) and if you are looking for us but don't know about us we want you to find us. It's really that simple. If STEAMPHEDHUMSEL meant anything to anyone then that's the acronym you'd see us use (though it would really mess with our hashtag #fullSTEAMahead.)grow artists tmHere's what we do: we grow artists and thinkers of character, confidence and curiosity, enabling students to learn technique, problem-solving approaches and other important life skills while weaving academic subjects within the creative activities they enjoy and in a way that prioritizes joy, learning and fun. This will always be our constant. #didnotknowIwasamathgeekuntilafterIgraduatedcollegeHere's what I believe:

  • The application of a curious and creatively confident perspective to the applied sciences makes for a better scientist.
  • An appreciation of the rhythm and patterns in music and dance makes for a better mathematician.
  • Compassion and social awareness makes for a better engineer.
  • Making art can be calming and meditative. Looking at and thinking about art at minimum is fun and at its best is visceral, reminding me that I am not a machine.
  • Development of lateral thinking skills through study of the rich connections in the humanities yields a technologist who can make the world a better place. (I could keep going but I know you're busy.) #MAKEawishMAKEsomething
broadening the field of choices for youthAny one of these concepts without the other narrows our world view and our ability to make choices, solve problems, find opportunities, stumble upon (or focus hard on) new ideas. Consider a tree: branches and stems (yeah, I know, funny) and leaves and roots stretching out every which way for its health, growth and longevity. Broadening the field of future choices for our youth is what you will always find under our canopy*. STEMs need flowers.9-Volt Nosegays (bouquets that light up your life)If you've ever been befuddled when we invite your kiddos to make a 9-Volt Nosegay (hey! this workshop is Sunday, April 19) or register for guitar class, or ask your teen to the Ink Well What Came First (The Chicken or The Word?) summer seminar and then mix in a mention of fashion summer camp or a picture of one of our Crafter-School students coding in our technology room, the breadth of what we're up to and why might now make more sense. We're not a white-coat laboratory, nor are we scattered and unfocused. We're an intentional workshop of wonder. Ink WellIf you've read this far (thanks for sticking with me!), below is a brief list of books and articles you might find interesting. What recommended reading would you add?How Children Succeed by Paul Tough (I really love the relationship of his last name and his book's content.) "Moving from Philosophy to Programming"  at hiringthehumanities.comAbout Design Thinking at ideo.comGuide to Talking About High Quality Education at ilraiseyourhand.orgLastly, thank you to Rob, leader of our Ink Well academic programming and my husband of 21 (gasp! sigh) years, for sharing ideas and debating concepts with me every day. My intuitions and thoughts become so much more linguistically accessible after some coffee-talk with you.*Yes, this is exactly why we chose a tree for our Grow Artists logo back in 2009.