A quick glance at the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, well-known as an anatomist, architect, botanist, cartographer, engineer, geologist, inventor, mathematician, musician, painter, sculptor, and writer attests to the importance of art education and the functionality of STEAM over STEM. When STEM was “new” it seemed everyone was caught up in the trend. The goals of raising test scores (especially in Math and English) led to some schools de-emphasizing Science and Technology. This was evidenced by less funding for teacher training in those subjects and the closing of shop, science, art, music, and technology classes. Those that advocated for including art in the STEM system as well as keeping art programs alive in schools were often misunderstood as whining liberals trying to get the “soft sciences” back into the curriculum.
New York City government decided to determine compliance to NY State requirements for art programs in public schools. They found many schools were not in compliance. They found that dropout rates increased noticeably when schools either diminished, greatly reduced or cut arts education. Crime rates were higher in these neighborhoods. This resulted in increased in law enforcement costs at all levels. These costs of far exceeded the cost to fund the school arts programs. To quote from the NYC Comptroller’s report:
“Arts education has long been recognized by experts around the world as having a tremendously positive influence on children and their academic attainment, social emotional development and future employment. The skills learned from arts education are more relevant today than ever, as New York City’s economy is increasingly focused on industries that value creativity, innovation and problem solving.”
|Caricature by Leonardo da Vinci|
Unlike many other programs, S.E.E.D.S. is a systematic and integrated holistic education program. We start with the curiosity and interests of the learner. S.E.E.D.S. uses STEAM to weave relevant academic elements into a project-based lessons and activities. The hands-on interactions naturally leads to learning diverse yet interconnected and integrated subject matter.