New Charter School opens in the Central West End

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - It might have been a steamy summer day for most, but it was also the first day of school for some.

Patrick Clark takes us inside a charter school teaching steam indoors and out.

For 12 years the Youth Learning Center and Biome School has been both a summer and after school program for children. But Monday was the first day of school for this charter school.

Bill Kent/President & CEO Youth Learning Center & Biome School) – “So we've been focused on math and literacy and steam and project based learning over the past 12 years and now we've taken all that knowledge and created a charter school”.

The K-8 charter school in the Central West End will grow one grade at a time, with only 220 students maximum. These kindergarten and first grade students were learning the ropes at their first time school.

Debi Weaver/Principal – “So the hardest thing is just those kids who've never been to school before.  They're tired.  It's the afternoon and just getting the acclimated to how to get through a day that is longer than what they're used to”.

And this school is a little different than what most parents are used to. The Biome calls itself a learning ecosystem where students work together.

Bill Kent/President & CEO Youth Learning Center & Biome School – “We take the subjects typically taught in isolation whether they be literacy math and science and we combine them through projects”.

Debi Weaver/Principal – “You know you can talk to kids about building something in the way geometry works within math.  But if you take them outside and have them build something they're learning with their hands and they're learning by doing.  And we find that type of learning sticks with students”.

This explains why you won't find monkey bars, but instead foam building materials, an interactive garden and a place to learn their ABC's as well as their T's and P's.

Bill Kent/President & CEO Youth Learning Center & Biome School – “We call it a reading teepee.  We actually saw it on Pinterest.  So we like to comb the WebPages and look for really interesting ideas.  There's just a lot going on and people are rethinking what playgrounds should be”.

And teachers and educators and rethinking what learning should be, one grade at a time.