The STEAM Project
The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Project, founded seven years ago. provides creative, hands-on learning that kids find stimulating, to say the least. Its learning approach is more fun and enlivening than the typical fair, and it often inspires kids to explore and pursue their passions. “Time and again,” says Wengle, “we hear from parents and staff, ‘I wish this place existed when I was a kid.’”
The STEAM Project offers summer camp and year-round programming at four campuses just north of Toronto: three in Richmond Hill and one in Markham. Three types of camps are offered: (i) STEAM, (ii) soccer (which includes an hour of STEAM a day), and (iii) sports adventure (which includes an hour of STEAM a day). The STEAM Project also offers year-round after-school and weekend programs at their Makerspace, as well as in-school programs, in which kids learn robotics, electronics, engineering, woodworking, fashion design, ceramics, and more.
What makes The STEAM Project unique
The STEAM Project camp is, as you might expect, education-oriented—and it meets the highest of academic standards. Its directors are Ontario-certified educators from top high schools in Ontario who have a strong background in and a love for STEAM. It also has counsellors with extensive training in technology and in kids’ social and emotional development.
The STEAM Project camp is all about participating in fun and exciting hands-on activities. Kids don’t just sit at a desk with a computer. And, it’s nothing like the lecture and textbook-based education many schools employ. “The kids are moving around, doing things they love to do, and making memories that will last a lifetime,” says Wengle. “It just so happens that, while they’re doing this, they’re learning important skills that they can use in school and out.”
The STEAM Project camp is, well, project-based. Kids spend a lot of time working on projects in camp, on their own and in groups. They get to exercise their creative muscles by designing gadgets like rocket launchers and mini solar-powered cars. And they get to take these projects home and show their families! What could be more thrilling for young, curious kids?
Campers are often given what are called “design challenges.” Teachers ask the kids to tackle large-scale problems, like how to prevent a natural disaster. They work together in groups to solve them and present their solutions. This helps them to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. But because they’re having so much fun, they often don’t even realize how much they’re learning!
To no one’s surprise, kids learn new skills every day at the STEAM Project camps. In addition to STEAM-related skills, there’s a big focus on team building at each of the three camps. “The whole day is broken up into activity blocks, with sports, spirit and team-building activities, and water games, depending on the camp,” says Wengle. “It’s a way to build confidence and leadership skills, but also a great way to bond and make friends with kids with similar interests.”
Lots of kids also discover new interests and passions at camp. They may develop a passion for coding, robotics, painting, or practically any other STEAM-related venture. They can then continue to pursue their newfound interest for years or even decades after camp. This can animate a love for learning and inspire kids to use their creativity and imagination in all sorts of ways.
The STEAM Project camps, by good fortune, can give kids a head start in school. “We look at school curricula two years ahead, and prepare lessons and activities accordingly,” says Wengle. “This gives children a great foundation for studying STEAM-like subjects, and it can also help them develop strong work habits.”
Who goes to The STEAM Project camps?
There’s no prototype for STEAM Project campers. “They don’t have to be super sciency, and no prior knowledge or experience is required,” says Wengle. “Some kids have a strong STEAM or science background and some don’t. Some know a lot about technology and are fascinated by it, while others are just getting familiar with it.”
The STEAM Project camp, in other words, can work for all types of kids. Regardless of one’s prior interests or experience, it’s just an incredible creative outlet. This is especially true for kids who like to build things, work with their hands, use their imagination, and have fun!
Make no mistake, though, the camp aims to cultivate certain types of thinkers and to inspire them to take action. “We love it when kids think about the future,” says Wengle. “Perhaps they’ll be inspired to become inventors, astronauts, engineers, or doctors. Big-picture thinkers like these can change the world, and we’re thrilled to play any role we can in influencing them.”
To learn more about The STEAM Project, click here: STEAM Summer Camps & Programs in the GTA