On International Women’s Day, a dear friend and mentor of mine texted me, Michelle Obama’s quote, “The future of our girls is only as bright as the future of our world.” What an inspiring and truly meaningful statement for the work that we do at York House and for the hope that we have for all girls throughout the world.
I often ask myself, “What does the future hold for our girls?”, “What knowledge, employability skills, and global competencies will our girls need to succeed and address problems and tackle important issues?” and of course, “What are we doing to prepare our Yorkies to be the leaders that tackle these challenges and issues?” Of course, strong foundational literacies such as reading, writing, numeracy, and physical literacy as well as the arts in its many forms continue to be a focus. However, it is increasingly important that we develop what some call, 21st century skills or what Dr. Tony Wagner calls, the 7 Survival Skills. The development of these skills will foster continuous learning, active and informed citizenship, and will lead to ongoing success in our Yorkies’ chosen careers.
The empowerment of these skills is a key focus for us as we develop learning experiences both in and outside the classroom. Our successful STEAM program at the Junior School truly allows for a synergistic merge of subjects and an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but by adding Art and Design to the equation we provide our girls the opportunity to enhance their critical thinking skills and understand the learning intersections of STEM + ART= STEAM. Early photographer, Charles Nègre (1820-1880) wrote, “Where science ends, art begins.” A talented artist and inquisitive scientist, he was a classic example of the combination of art and science in one creative personality.
With the success of the Junior School STEAM program, we look forward to expanding these types of learning experiences into the Senior School. With this in mind, we are creating a new STEAM coordinator position at the Senior School and will be working on revising our ADST (Applied Skills Design & Technology) Grade 8 and 9 courses for 2019-2020. The STEAM coordinator will collaborate with teachers in the Senior School to continue to expand opportunities for interdisciplinary and hands-on learning. I look forward to sharing more about the expansion of STEAM to the Senior School in the coming months.
With STEAM in mind and In light of Women’s International Day, I invite you to view “The Unlikely Scientist”, a TEDX talk by an inspiring Canadian woman, Dr. Eugenia Duodu, who shares how she successfully managed to pursue her passion for science and community advocacy through her involvement in STEAM education.
Finally, I want to wish all our York House families a restful and soul-nourishing vacation during the March break. We look forward to seeing you in April and embarking on our last push for our final few months of the year.