13 September 2017

Liberia: Mixing Arts With Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

It Takes a Village Africa, Founded by Matu Davis and her two artistic daughters, Erica Davies Cole (Spokesperson) and Evonne Adebo, have begun focusing on their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program, and have now incorporated Arts (STEAM) to improve competitiveness in science and technology development for children who require a more creative way of learning. "The first program that we are doing, called Girls in Technology, is another aspect of the STEM. STEAM is where we incorporate the arts. My sister is an artist and she recommended that arts be added into the STEM program," Erica added. "We are partnering with Liberian organizations that need these STEM and STEAM components."

STEAM is an educational program that has been executed across the world, but is now in Liberia for the first time. It engages students in incorporated learning as they explore the world around them, thus allowing them to create innovative solutions to problems, and communicate their results while learning Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.

STEAM is more than just the subjects, it is the intentional mixing of core contents with arts to inspire all students to think deeply, develop creative solutions, and aspire to a greater future. "We have another organization that's doing arts where we take the children there to perform arts, drawing, different things of that nature just to be able to open up their creative third eye," Erica stated. She says she and her siblings grew up with the fundamentals of arts, where they we were able to play violin, piano, learn Latin, Ballet, painting, etc.

"We also engaged another organization in August that was able to have a Robotics Camp, teaching kids the dynamics of how to put together the mechanics (ROBOTS). With STEM, they also get to learn the Periodic Table, about carbon and carbon monoxide, which is very important," she added. Erica also believes that children who are aware of different things that they sometimes don't learn in school will be able to learn simplistic concepts through the STEAM program.

Meanwhile, the international focus of the STEM program is to develop rigorous math and science skills through engineering, while the STEAM initiative embraces the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics to engage all students in authentic learning STEM is a global initiative, and for Erica and It Takes a Village Africa, their inspiration is the children.

"I look at the children here in Liberia and it really brightens up my day. I see a lot of the children that's here that are smart, creative and artistic. But they'll go to school and be considered dull; and they are not, they are geniuses. We need to give them the tools to succeed" she revealed.

"We at It Take a Village Africa want to provide the children with the tools to be able to succeed by accommodating them. With each pupil's profile, we are able to test them and place them where they need to be placed and be in cooperation with the parents as well. Their parents and the holistic community as a whole will play a major role; therefore, we engage the parents and don't want this to be something the kids just come or sneak into; It takes a village to raise a child.

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