A Holistic Approach to Innovation
A STEM based PBL platform that children enjoy
Incorporating Play in to our curriculum to deliberately practice the 4 C’s
Fun, exciting, and interactive
Research based to promote academic achievement
Homework support delivered by educators
Robotics, coding and high-tech instruction is included as part of the program
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. - Albert Einstein
According to world-renowned author, educator, and researcher Tony Wagner, “the ‘DNA’ of innovators can be considered a set of skills that are essential elements in design thinking.” Innovation Learning has been developed under the premise that such skills which are associated with an “innovative mindset” — curiosity, collaboration, associative and integrative thinking, a bias toward action and experimentation — have a very high correlation with improved academic outcomes for children and should be taught and practiced. (https://www.bie.org/object/document/21st_century_skills_and_the_workplace).
ACADEMICS BEFORE- AND AFTER-SCHOOL PRODUCES CLASSROOM ACHIEVEMENT
Created by doctoral-level educators with experience as teachers, administrators, and college faculty, Innovation Learning programs incorporate a STEM based Project Based Learning (PBL) platform, predicated upon several research driven conclusions, such as:
- Before- school, after-school, and vacation-day programs that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) have been shown to improve attitudes toward STEM fields and careers, increase test scores (as compared to non-participants), enhance the likelihood that students will pursue college, and increase intention to major in STEM fields (Afterschool Alliance 2011, http://www. afterschoolalliance.org/STEM Afterschool-Outcomes. pdf).
- Engagement in robotics, coding, and other high-tech curricular components, have a pronounced positive effect on math test scores, science test scores, and overall academic achievement (Barker & Ansorge, 2014).
- Programs that expose students to STEM, within the context of a Project Based Learning Framework, increase long-term retention of content, help students perform better than traditional learners in high-stakes tests, improve problem-solving and collaboration skills, and improve students’ attitudes towards learning (Strobel & van Barneveld, 2009; Walker & Leary, 2009).
- STEM based PBL is interactive, enjoyable and fun for children. (https://www.bie.org/blog/viewpoint_on_pbl_what_students_say)
STEM and PBL are ingrained in all of our programs and are not an “add on” that parents pay more for. The result is that all of our children not only learn content and important 21st century skills but they do so in a way that is joyful, fun and caters to their natural curiosities.
COMBINING FUN & INTERACTIVE LEARNING TO CREATE A NEW APPROACH
We weave play, physical fitness, STEM and PBL in to a holistic approach so children have fun, are engaged and don’t want to leave our programs at the end of the day. The idea of engaging in a program that promotes fun, play, learning and a healthy lifestyle offers children, parents and schools with more “bang” than traditional, one dimensional programs.
The need for today’s providers to offer an eclectic array of benefits can be seen in the opinions of parents. Surveys conducted by both San Francisco State University and the Afterschool Alliance, show that parents rate academic support, homework help and STEM activities high on their list of expectations for after school programs. Additionally, eight in 10 parents agree that extended day programs should also provide a fun experience; 71% agree that after-school programs should help children develop workforce skills such as teamwork, leadership, and critical thinking; and 71% of parents agree that after-school programs should provide learning activities that are not offered during the regular school day. Meeting all of these priorities, demands a well-rounded, approach that not only stimulates academic achievement but does so in a fun and exciting way. Innovation Learning meets this challenge by offering:
- A STEM-based curriculum that allows students to pursue their interests while seeing how those interests are connected to the school day curriculum;
- A Project Based Learning (PBL) approach, using the Buck Institute’s Gold Standard, to improve problem-solving and collaboration, and students’ attitudes towards learning;
- Access to caring adults who serve as coaches and facilitators of inquiry and reflection, and do so with a lower teacher-to-student ratio than experienced during the school day.
- Access to licensed teachers who provide academic support and homework assistance to ensure that children return to the classroom better prepared for the next school day.
- Choices for children to approach the curriculum, the activities that they engage in, the way they interact, and the things that they create.
- A curriculum that incorporates high-interest activities in science, engineering, and math.
- Academic support and homework assistance provided by licensed educators who check homework for accuracy and provide guidance when difficulty is encountered.
- A morning program that includes physical fitness and activity.
- A curriculum that incorporates play and leverages it to foster creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.
- Skills-based instruction with a deliberate focus on teaching 21st century skills.
- The ability to work in pairs and groups so that students can interact with one another in a fun and exciting environment.
Despite the best intentions, traditional outside providers have their roots in early childhood education and do not have the time, energy, or resources to focus on providing before- and after-school programs that incorporate a wide range of eclectic, age appropriate, educational experiences, especially in math and science. This is an unfortunate reality, but one that Innovation Learning was created to fix. Our experiences as educators, parents and leaders in before and after school programs in over 100 schools across the country, provides us with the unique outlook, knowledge, and confidence crucial to providing exemplary programs.