All Kinds of News for May 08, 2019
It takes a very special kind of teacher to succeed and thrive in a residential treatment center school. Instruments that would normally be found in a typical high school lab need to be replaced with potions, dyes and tools that will pose less of a threat. Robin Parkinson, the science teacher at La Europa Academy, just moved into her new chemistry lab four months ago; already, the room is overflowing with activities and labs waiting for eager students to experience. The sense of play and investigation is paramount in everything Robin does with her students. In the last few months, students have spliced rose stems in an attempt to hybridize a new rose; created small robots using cell phone parts; made texturized therapy slime; and illuminated illustrations using light and electricity.
Parkinson is one of many science teachers across the country that are using the tenets of STEAM in their curriculum. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. A STEAM curriculum adds a unique and critical component to the many initiatives across the country to help students prepare for future jobs by focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM): the arts and the creative process. And what better place to add arts to a science curriculum than La Europa Academy, an arts-based residential treatment center. The STEM curriculum alone does not foster the ingenuity and creativity needed in our complex world. By adding the arts, students are better prepared to think outside the box. A STEAM curriculum has lessons using science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics to accomplish certain objectives. This is hands-on learning that allows the student to develop and refine skills in each of the critical areas of STEAM.
La Europa's summer science curriculum includes the following creative activities using all components of STEAM:
- Nature/scientific journaling in Environmental Science
- Survival cooking and climate change in Physics and Chemistry
- Making and using a simple watercolor paint set in Chemistry
- Paper engineering in Engineering and Material Science
- Making pop up science books for children in Art, Engineering and Scientific Writing (see photo)
- Making finger puppets and performing in Physics, Writing and Mixing Light
- Exploring strength in structures in Physics
- DIY beauty products in Chemistry and Biology
- Making toys from trash to explore engineering
Since arriving at La Europa in 2015, Parkinson has taken the science curriculum into new and exciting directions, focusing on school (and life) skills like cooperation, teamwork, problem solving and handling failure. In addition to these school skills, Parkinson stresses the importance of hands-on learning and a sense of play to complement the more difficult concepts students are grappling with in their science classes. Parkinson’s students will learn and benefit from the thoughtful, fun and productive projects of a STEAM curriculum planned for this summer as they learn about genes, biomes and forces of matter.
About La Europa Academy and Mosaic House Transition Program
La Europa Academy is a residential treatment center for girls ages 14 -18 who struggle with emotional dysregulation, anxiety, depression, school refusal, disordered eating and substance use. Our program, located in Murray, UT, uses a combination of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and clinical expressive arts to help students learn to manage their emotions effectively. Students at La Europa experience expressive art therapies multiple times per week as well as engaging in creative arts in our fully-accredited high school.
Mosaic House Transition Program provides La Europa students with a step-down experience toward the end of their stay in residential treatment, in order to help transition the student to the next step. Mosaic House is a 15-bed home where students can practice the skills they have learned in a less-structured environment.