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ASLA Co-Hosts Two Congressional Briefings on COVID Learning Loss in the STEM Subjects with STEM Education Coalition and STEMx

"This is too Hard" Stock Photo | iStock

Learning loss can happen at any time after a child leaves a formal class setting. It is most commonly associated with the “summer slump”—the six-week-long period away from school when children begin to forget key concepts learned over the previous academic year. 

Over the past year, as schools and communities have grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide school closures, learning in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects has been impacted in a number of acute and critically concerning ways. The loss of hands-on and experiential learning, together with a generalized narrowing of the curriculum has presented a myriad of challenges to STEM educators at every level across the country. 

To bring awareness to this issue, the STEM Education Coalition and STEMx held a briefing for Congressional and federal agency staff on COVID Learning Loss in the STEM Subjects. Co-hosted by ASLA and seven other Coalition members, an esteemed panel of educators discussed how each level is addressing “learning loss” and shared how local and state leaders are leveraging federal resources that have been directed to that end. 

The COVID Learning Loss in the STEM Subjects briefing comes on the heels of the STEM Education 101: Major Policy Issues for the 117th Congress briefing, also co-hosted by ASLA, which highlighted K–12 STEM education, higher education, career technology education (CTE), informal and after school learning, diversity, and workforce issues that have implications for STEM education, national progress, and the work of the 117th Congress. 

Overriding themes from both briefings included the dire need for federal funding to support classroom and remote learning resources and professional development for teachers; support to adapt STEM materials to curricula and local issues; equity and inclusion in STEM; and successes discovered in the use of outdoor spaces. 

ASLA and its members are helping address many of these issues as nationwide school closures continue. ASLA’s Tools for PreK-12 Teachers has become a digital destination for outdoor design learning among Prek–12 students and educators. As a STEM profession, landscape architecture provides teachers with unique learning opportunities as instructional shifts continue. Outdoor design and learning creates healthy learning experiences with positive intersections between scientific thinking and skills with art. 

With Tools for PreK–12 Teachers, ASLA members and educators have access to free and local resources that bring design projects and education to life and out of the theoretical realm, and it creates opportunities to socialize safely outdoors with families or familiar community pods. Resources include a variety of free interactive activities, lesson plans, case studies, and websites that combine art and design with the complex scientific and technical skills needed for a variety of future landscapes. 

ASLA National invites its members and educators to join ASLA’s PreK-12 Educator Community of early-learning advocates. We also encourage visitors to save the date for ASLA’s first PreK–12 Summit DREAM BIG with Design, A Showcase of Landscape Architecture and PreK–12 Design Learning on Thursday, September 23 and Friday, September 24, 2021.

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