Stemtree offers unique learning opportunities for local students

By Ian Davis-Leonard | Jun 13, 2018

With the emphasis of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs on the rise, a local couple is bringing a new kind of education center to Mukilteo.

“We are offering something here that doesn’t exist,” said Sabrina Stewart, Stemtree’s co-franchisee and center director.

Stemtree goes beyond basic learning techniques to teach STEM to students through fun, hands-on techniques, she said.

Stemtree opened its doors June 4 and is hoping to provide a unique path to learning for students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade.

“We are pretty close to Boeing, and we saw that as real advantage,” Eric Stewart, the other co-franchisee and center director of Stemtree, said. “There is already a need for science and engineering in the area, so we really wanted to focus on leveraging what is already here.”

Stemtree offers after school programs, scheduled sessions, camps, tutoring and birthday parties from their location on Mukilteo Speedway, each of which is designed to increase learning and self-confidence in the STEM subject areas.

As the school year ends for local school districts across Snohomish County, the Stemtree directors hope to provide children with an opportunity for extended learning through summer camps.

“The camp is a real educational experience, it is not your regular everyday camp where everybody comes in and does the same thing,” Sabrina Stewart said. “Each child is working on their own learning plan, so they could be working on a completely different subject to the child sitting next to them.”

Upon entering a Stemtree camp or program for the first time, children take an assessment to determine where they are at with the four curriculum areas – science, robotics, electricity and coding. Based on those results, a specific learning plan is then created for each student.

Throughout a day of camp, students rotate through the four curriculum areas to build an expanse of knowledge, as opposed to fluency in just one of the core topics.

“We want to make science and technology fun,” Eric Stewart said. “Whether it is something that a child uses as their career or just something that they find as an interesting activity, we hope to plant seeds for the future.”

The ultimate goal of Stemtree for its local franchisees is to deliver the curriculum that they believe in to as many local students as possible.

When considering how to best go about bringing Stemtree to the Pacific Northwest, the Stewarts traveled to the original Stemtree location in Vienna, Virginia.

“It was really exciting to see second and third grade children coding away on the computer and having a great time,” Sabrina Stewart said.

The Stewarts hope to bring the same passion for learning to the students of Mukilteo.

Stemtree offers flexibility beyond students coming to their facility.

By simply sending an instructor with a curriculum and the correct supplies, Stemtree can also bring their program to interested local schools.

To this point, Stemtree has partnered with the Everett Community College Youth program to market and sell their camps. They also are attempting to connect with the Mukilteo School District to bring the Stemtree program to their students.

Stemtree hires college students studying science or engineering as instructors to teach, motivate and mentor the children. The Stewarts’ daughter Miranda is one of those students.

As a mechanical engineering student headed to Washington State University, Miranda Stewart believes teaching at Stemtree benefits her in her studies just as much as it benefits the children, because it provides an opportunity to apply previous knowledge.

For the children, Stemtree’s goal is to provide an opportunity to bring science to life in ways that are fun, challenging and beneficial for long-term success.

 

 

 

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