STEAM Education and the Whole Child: Examining Policy and Barriers
Keywords:STEAM, STEM, play, inquiry, policy, whole child
Whole Child education nurtures five tenets of the child to ensure they are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged during their time at school. STEAM programs coincide with the Whole Child approach as it allows them to expand their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, build their social-emotional needs, and be prepared for the 21st century workforce. STEAM programs are designed to emphasize inquiry and an interdisciplinary approach that reflects the tenets of the Whole Child paradigm. Much of the research that has been done in STEAM and Whole Child education pushes for further implementation of high-quality programs in schools so students can learn in a way that best fits their needs. However, there are many barriers and funding issues that preclude schools from the full implementation of high-quality, Whole Child STEAM programs that foster equity and accessibility especially for marginalized populations. These barriers and suggestions for overcoming them are discussed through a policy lens so curriculum can be flexible and more interdisciplinary and so that students have multiple opportunities to be nurtured in their creativity.
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