Jada Robinson, a 2008 elementary education graduate of McNeese State University, is bringing a new enrichment center, Bright Minds STEAM Studio, to the Humble, Texas, community for preschool students. Science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics activities are used as a basis to prepare these young students with the motor, physical, emotional and social skills they need for kindergarten.
“This past year, I was able to home-school my daughter who will enter preschool this fall,” says Robinson. “I noticed changes in her vocabulary and cognition each day. From art projects to numbers, I could see that incorporating STEAM components were beneficial to her learning.”
She became passionate about bringing this experience to other families with children who may not qualify for preschool in the district. While the coronavirus pandemic halted Robinson’s original plan to partner with local child care centers, she is excited to open the studio this September.
“It’s important to acquaint students with the classroom setting to not only prepare them to be away from home but also to help them adjust to structured activity,” says Robinson. “Each session at the studio will include things like Circle Time for stories, weather and music, but each learning activity or sensory station is related to STEAM and allows for creativity and movement.”
Both morning and afternoon sessions are 90 minutes and incorporate STEAM principals to appeal to a child’s interest.
“I want these young students to be prepared for kindergarten, but I also want them to have a role in the activities they choose,” says Robinson. “It’s just as important to encourage them to be unique as it is to develop their fine skills.”
She says her time at McNeese prepared her for both a career as an educator and now a business owner.
“My faculty members pushed me to keep going when I faced adversity and I’m so glad they did because their support molded me into the teacher I am today,” she says. “Being a student teacher gave me the hands-on experience I needed to put that diligence into action. I believe those necessary skills not only prepared me for my profession, but also contributed to my being voted Teacher of the Year early on in my career.”
Robinson also says being involved in campus organizations added to the real-world knowledge she uses every day.
“I was the advertising director for the Student Union Board and I often made flyers and prepared budgets for our students events,” she explains. “That type of work is exactly what I’ve done to open the studio. McNeese truly gave me a foundation to build on for the rest of my life.”