I can recount the many summers with my children where we engaged in fun and creative activities, arts and crafts, and field trips to help ensure they continued learning even during the break. As a mother, I wanted to guarantee that my kids were actively learning and acquiring the skills and knowledge to be successful contributors in society, regardless of the field they chose.
And as the Executive Director of Charlotte Choice Charter School (CCC), this charge remains the same. Every day our community of teachers, staff, students, families and volunteers work together to provide scholars an advanced academic experience with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM). We believe that this focus maximizes individual potential and ensures students are well prepared to become 21st century pioneers and meet the challenges of our global society.
Across the country, women and minorities are significantly underrepresented in STEAM fields and careers. There is a high demand for qualified STEAM professionals, but not enough students are graduating with the necessary skills and interest to fill these positions. This is why CCC is committed to ensuring that its STEAM focus and approach to learning yields continued improvement in test scores and student success.
But, this commitment doesn’t stop when scholars leave school. In fact, it is imperative that learning, growth, and a thirst for knowledge continue to be instilled in our students at home as well. Summer may be a time to rest and refresh, but this doesn’t mean that learning should end.
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As many of us enjoy the summer heat, vacations, and break from school, I wanted to share a few ideas and creative tips to help parents and guardians incorporate STEAM at home:
Recipes: Cooking is STEAM in action. Pull out a cookbook or download a few fun recipes online and allow your child to learn about measurements, science, and temperatures while cooking a delicious summer snack. Here are a few fun and fast recipes to get you started.
Science Experiments: Make a hurricane, a cloud in a bottle, or spark science curiosity this summer with exciting and simple science experiments that your kids can conduct in the kitchen (or the backyard). This is a great way to show kids that science and learning can be fun and an awesome way to build their science skills. Check out these 10 science experiments that will have you and your kids getting hands-on and creative this summer.
Coding & Technology: All you need is a computer, and you can open up a world of possibilities for your kids as they code, play games, and learn to program in a fun and innovative way. Visit https://code.org/learn and watch your kids code with Anna and Elisa or build a galaxy of code in Star Wars.
Field Trips: You can learn about nature through a walk in the woods, visit Crowders Mountain, or take a trip to Discovery Place this summer. Fields trips are a great way to get your kids out of the house for a few hours, while also learning new, hands-on concepts. Take a look at some of these great field trip ideas for families in the Charlotte area. You can even incorporate writing into this learning experience by having your child journal their field trip experience and share it with their family and friends!
These tips are just some of the ways parents, educators, and the community can work together to ensure our kids are excelling at the highest levels, prepared for college and career, and exposed to STEAM careers and fields. Together, we can ensure that our scholars receive an exceptional education to equip them to become the next generation of leaders and innovators in this country.
Linda Cruz is the executive director of Charlotte Choice Charter School, a tuition-free, student-centered, community-based school currently serving grades K-8. The school’s educational approach is framed around innovation, collaboration, critical and creative thinking. From additional instruction and learning opportunities in math; to technology and robotics enrichment, Charlotte Choice Charter School prepares students to be global scholars.