STEAM Academy: Building Bright Futures for Bright Children

Upper Main Line YMCA students conduct a science experiment at STEAM Academy a preschool program in Berwyn, pa

"Aymen loved going to preschool as a three-year-old,” says his mom, Ashma. “When we heard that the Upper Main Line YMCA (UMLY) was opening STEAM Academy during his pre-kindergarten year, we wondered if he would like it.”

Ashma enrolled her son and it didn’t take long to discover that it was a great fit. Aymen’s love for school increased in the Academy and he immediately took a liking to the STEAM curriculum, which features science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

Soon enough, he excitedly shared his newfound knowledge with his 10-year-old sister. His mom was surprised and pleased to hear him explaining to her that chlorophyll is the pigment that turns leaves green.

“He’s learning the scientific basics without knowing it, and all the while, he’s playing and having a fun time,” Ashma continued. “We can say without a doubt that the STEAM Academy was a worthy investment in Aymen’s future, and we can’t thank the whole staff enough for their efforts.”

Welcome to STEAM
Introducing curious children to the subjects of science, technology, engineering, arts and math, (hence STEAM), STEAM Academy opened in 2017 for children ages three to five who are in preschool and pre-K. The STEAM curriculum is designed to expose children to a wide variety of hands-on learning at an age when their minds are most inquisitive. UMLY’s vast 54-acre campus coupled with its many resources including degreed staff, its Environmental and STEM Education Center, its Creative and Performing Arts Center and its Diverse Abilities Playground, make it the perfect place for STEAM Academy.

The STEAM curriculum also emphasizes literacy, which is the foundation for self-expression in both science and the arts. Teachers lead children through a language arts journey that teaches them how to write, recognize basic vocabulary words and open their hearts and minds to unlimited adventures in reading. Combining the study of language arts and the time spent in Performing Artist and STEM Scholar groups with the confidence and self-esteem the children develop provides the essential building blocks for school success.

Making an Immediate Impact
There’s been obvious and measurable progress by STEAM students, something that excites UMLY Senior Executive Director Helen Flanders.

“Two of our children did not speak English when they started in STEAM Academy last fall. Now, they’re both speaking English well, along with their native languages. We utilize the PA State Ages and Stages Standards to evaluate progress and both of these children have met all of the milestones,” Flanders said. “STEAM is a unique preschool approach. Studies show that children that develop an interest in technology at a young age are more apt to enter that field as adults. And what better way to build the inner spirit of a child than through the self-expression of the arts?”

To find out if STEAM at the Upper Main Line YMCA is right for your child, contact Brian Raicich at braicich@ymcagbw.org or call 610-647-9622, ext. 2002.