When Choosing a School for your Child, don't Lose STEAM
November, 2019 - Issue #182

Parenting is rarely easy, but when it comes to selecting your child's school, things can seem downright overwhelming. "It's not an overstatement to say that this is one of the most important choices a parent will make," sympathizes Tim "Coach" Borruel, co-founder and superintendent emeritus of Legacy Christian Academy, a pedagogical innovator with 35 years experience developing educational programs for Santa Clarita.

Experts suggest that you begin the process of school selection by making a list of qualities you hope your child will gain from their time in the program. "Parents who choose Legacy do so for a variety of reasons, but the primary ones are this: our emphasis on STEAM education, the quality of our accelerated curriculum and coordinating facilities, our Christian character development and the extraordinary safety measures on our campus," explains Head of School Matt Millett.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) is at the top of most in-the-know parents list for a big reason - it's an educational mindset that has been shown to help children develop vital skills they'll need for success in school - and life. "Our STEAM emphasis is pervasive in every classroom and every subject," shares Stacie Zorichak, Legacy's associate head of school for academics. "The research shows that STEAM gives children - even very small children - the confidence and abilities to think and communicate more clearly; to develop advanced reasoning and problem-solving skills; to innovate solutions to complex issues; to think creatively; and gives them the skills to see an idea through each step, from brainstorming to production. It will change the way education is 'done' in this century and it's exciting to be ahead of that curve at Legacy."

With all this talk of STEAM, it can be difficult to understand what it looks like in practice. "I love it when parents are on campus and have a chance to witness STEAM for themselves," says Tiffany Seston, Legacy's director of curriculum. "When they walk into our Discovery Hall and see their children crafting their own hypotheses after observing one of our animal habitats, they say, 'Oh, this is STEAM!' They're right, but that's not the extent of it. A true STEAM education isn't just for science and tech spaces."

In fact, the elements that make up a STEAM education share important similarities. "STEAM learning happens in every one of Legacy's differentiated classes, in our programming and through each curriculum emphasis," explains Millett. "Each is built on a system of acquiring and applying evidence to solve problems and it evolves organically as we guide our learners in the investigations of the world around them."

Legacy, a non-denominational Christian academy, puts a unique emphasis on STEAM learning. Shares Associate Head of School for Activities and Spiritual Life Garrick Moss: "Very few schools invest so much in the technology, specialized instructors, curriculum and programming for STEAM while also providing an understanding of God's creations through a Christian paradigm. Parents don't have to choose between their belief system and what's best for their child academically. That's just one more thing that makes Legacy special!"

STEAM for Young Learners
Observing patterns, building hypotheses and testing theories are how children learn to explain what they see and experience. These skills aren't reserved for the Science Lab at Legacy, but are present in language arts, history and other subjects, too.

Early Legacy learners build and use simple tools like levers, ramps and pulleys to observe and experience cause-and-effect reasoning.

Third graders start using the Academy's 3D printers, but younger students design, build and craft, too, developing hand/eye coordination, spatial awareness and an understanding of how and why things "work."

Sensory exploration ignites creativity, cognitive development and self esteem. Legacy students benefit from art instructors who are experts in their field.

Discovering how numbers, operations, volume, distance, shapes, sequences and sizes inform their understanding of the world around them is key to being able to process more complex situations and equations later.
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