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Putting the “A” in STEM

By Brittany Kerfoot, Freelance Writer, Language Arts Instructor

Most people know what STEM stands for–Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math–as these subjects are crucial to today’s schools curricula as the world sees more new and exciting innovations every day. Schools and educators alike champion STEM programs in part because the US is falling behind other countries in these areas, and it’s clear we need to start with our young people to catch up to the rest of the world.

While there are many benefits to STEM programs, a new acronym is making its way into the education world’s lexicon: STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineer, Art, And Math. As we continue to recognize the importance of arts for children, both in and outside the classroom, we’ve seen the idea of STEAM gain in popularity…and for good reason.

While STEM is based in practical, logic-based subjects, STEAM would introduce a more creative aspect to the regimen. Not only would this appeal to and challenge a wider range of students, but studies have found that “half brain” education (classes that only target either right-brained or left-brained individuals) leaves students at a disadvantage.

In fact, a study performed by the University of Florida found that, “On average, students who study the arts for 4 years in high school score 98 points higher on the SATs compared to those who study the same for half a year or less.” In addition, “Students who took up music appreciation scored 61 points higher on the verbal section and 42 points higher on the math section.” It’s hard to deny the importance of the arts in every child’s education, whether it be dance, graphic design, or simply drawing and painting.

For more information on adding the “A” in STEM, check out, which boasts numerous case studies, resources, and ways you can help promote the arts in your child’s education.

Washington Cathay Future Center is dedicated to a well-rounded curriculum that includes subjects ranging from STEM to Chinese to art. Sign up today to help broaden your child’s horizons and round out their education.

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What If: Envisioning a World Without Art

One chilly winter afternoon, I decided to get hot chocolate from the Starbucks drive-through.  When I pulled up to the window, a friendly barista confirmed my order, verified the price with me, and asked me a standard friendly question about how my day was going.

I answered, “My day is great; I think it’s going to snow.”

The man looked out the window at the sky and asked how I knew something was coming. At first, I was a bit confused by the question as it seemed obvious to me that it was going to snow. I pointed to the trees near the edge of the parking lot and described how they seemed so still. I looked toward the sky and identified the misty grey color that seems to always appear before a snowstorm, and I took a deep breath in and mentioned that the air seems wet and cooler than usual.

The barista then asked if I knew a lot about weather. I said “No, but I do know a lot about art.”

What seemed to be small talk had more complex implications. Though I am by no means a meteorologist, I used the skills I learned from my arts education to observe the environment around me and used descriptive vocabulary to explain my hypothesis regarding the weather.

“I began to wonder what my life would be like without the numerous ways art enhanced every part of my day.”

What if I didn’t notice all the world’s unique colors and shapes? What if I didn’t have the words to describe a sunset or the look on a child’s face when he learns something new?

Perhaps the barista didn’t see the signs because he didn’t have the observational skills of an artist, or the ability to make connections between his surroundings and the state of the world. Maybe he didn’t have the language arts training that would help him find the vocabulary to describe what was going on around him. This is a clear display of how the arts and the sciences are intrinsically linked.

The arts help children in many other areas of study, and broaden their horizons in life in general. Supplement your child’s education with visual, language, and performing arts at Washington Cathay Future Center this school year.

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Where There is Art, There is Possibility

According to, “High arts involvement equals higher scores on achievement tests.” It has been documented that students involved in art performed better than students with low arts involvement on standardized tests in other subjects. In addition, students with a high interest in art watched less television, were more involved in their community, and were found to be less bored in class. In older children, high school students in art classes perform better on the SAT; in fact, the more art classes they take, the higher their score.

Now some of you may be wondering, “Why art? Why all of this pomp-and-circumstance and fuss over art?” Well, I’ll tell you why.

Art doesn’t just encourage students to think outside of the box.  Art creates new boxes and then tells students to think outside of those. Art challenges children to be fearless, restless and visionary.

“Where there is art, there is possibility.” 

Where there is art, there is diversity and inclusiveness. Where there is art, there is a future for those who otherwise might not see one within the four walls of a traditional classroom.  Art opens doors, but it also opens hearts and minds.  It engages.  It enlivens.  It invites. It energizes. As importantly, art cultivates our youth as critical-thinkers, problem-solvers, better students and more productive global citizens. So, while you may ask, “Why art?”, I say, “Why not art?” Perhaps, world renowned art educator Olivia Gude said it best. Gude said that arts education gives a democratic people “the freedom to experience fully, reflect freely and represent without fear.”

At Washington Cathay Future Center or WCFC, we are constantly seeking ways for our students to share their many passions and pursuits with the world. In fact, as the most premier, K-8 educational program in Montgomery County, we are firmly dedicated to the arts, academic and cultural enrichment of our children.

Here are a variety of visual arts classes to consider.

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Why Our Children Should ALL Try Dance

By Brittany Kerfoot, Freelance Writer, Language Arts Instructor

Despite the fact that many public schools are being forced to remove arts programs from their curricula due to budget cuts, classes like dance and theatre remain an integral part of your child’s education. While math and science prepare children to think analytically and employ logical thinking, the arts allow them to express themselves and channel their energy while also teaching them the value of discipline and hard work.

As a child, I never liked or excelled in sports, but as soon as my mother signed me up for dance classes, I knew I belonged at the barre. Dancing allowed me to express my emotions when words failed, and gave me a sense of confidence I previously lacked. According to FamilyTalk Magazine, dance lessons can improve your child’s social and communication skills by teaching them how to work as part of a team. Dance is especially beneficial for shy or introverted children and expands their social circle. I made lifelong friends in my classes, and learned skills like collaboration, patience, and perseverance.

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of dance for children is its ability to spark creativity. Dancers must learn how to convey feeling without words, which requires them to use a part of their brain that is not always activated during the school day. Exercising creativity in areas like dance actually improve your child’s performance in other subjects. Another finding from FamilyTalk Magazine estimates that students with a background in dance often achieve significantly higher SAT scores and do perform better in math and science.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to enroll your child in a dance class, Washington Cathay Future Center (WCFC) in Rockville, MD has a number of offerings to fit different skill levels and schedules. Their summer camp program offers musical theatre for ages ranging from 5-10+, as well as hip hop, modern, and jazz classes. And there will be a $5.00 Street Dance Workshop on Aug 11 for anyone community! During the school year, WCFC has even more dance courses including ballet, street dance, dance party workout, and Dancing Through Disney. There are even classes for adults, like a morning “Mommy and Me” dance class and Hip Hop Abroebics in the evening.

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Welcome to the Washington Cathay Future Center’s (WCFC) official blog. On this blog you will find articles and news connected to the WCFC’s mission to cultivate students’ and their families artistic expression, intellectual development, and leadership potential. Enjoy the articles, comment and share as you wish! Happy Reading! To learn more about the WCFC visit!