Photo courtesy of INSPIRE Girls Academy
One of the most challenging issues parents face is selecting the right school for their children. While the debate over the privatization of education is one best saved for another arena, there is no doubt that something needs to be done to address gender inequities in the classroom. Specifically, how and why a young girl’s self-esteem begins to dip and why girls continue to steer away from careers in STEM fields. INSPIRE Girls Academy could be a major step toward providing a solution. An all-girls school set to open in September 2016 with a downtown Chicago space, INSPIRE has set the lofty goal of helping to shatter the expectations of a “woman’s place in society” by helping young girls maintain their confidence while providing a high-quality STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education.
From left to right: Shalini, Malini and Roshni Patel
Founded by three sisters—Shalini, Roshni, and Malini Patel (an educator, a pediatrician, and a marketing executive, respectively)—INSPIRE has as its foundation the solid work ethic that the Patel sisters grew up with. Their parents taught them that anything is possible as long as you are willing to learn and work hard. But as is the case with many young girls, the sisters were not immune to self-doubt and sagging confidence in their formative years. Educational and career achievement can be deeply affected by low self-esteem, which often follows a young girl into adulthood. It is this lack of confidence that INSPIRE seeks to counteract. INSPIRE uses a STEAM-based curriculum to help girls find their own voices and discover their natural interests and talents.
Studies have shown that the way girls are socialized can also have an effect on the way they learn and experience the classroom environment. Girls are taught (often indirectly) to be more passive and defer, while boys are usually allowed to be more assertive in the way they express themselves. INSPIRE encourages their students to take risks, be curious, and develop into leaders on their own terms. Girls are taught to think beyond what society expects of them and forge their own paths to success.
Photo Courtesy of INSPIRE Girls Academy
Learn more about INSPIRE at the STEAM Learning Workshop on Saturday, October 17, at Literacenter, 611 West Lake Street. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., attendees can learn more about the benefits of single-gender education, participate in STEAM curriculum-based activities, and relax with a family yoga session.