STEM is an abbreviated term for science, technology, engineering and math that is currently trending upward in the education field. While these topics are ones that are typically already being taught in preschool classrooms, STEM introduces a more hands-on approach with the intention of creating real-world applications. Today we are going to introduce our top five reasons a STEM learning environment is a must have for your child!
1) Children are encouraged to problem solve from their own personal viewpoint and experience. Just as all adults approach problems differently, children have varying ideas on how things can be solved. In the past, a teacher may have introduced a problem with a block tower by posing the question “I want to add this large block to the top of the tower but it keeps making my entire structure fall over. How can I fix it?” This question would be asked with a specific response in mind and only that response would be recognized. In a STEM approach, one child might suggest building a larger foundation or base for the tower to be able to support the extra weight while another child might suggest adding structural support to the sides. Both of these responses would be celebrated and then most importantly, both would be implemented to get a hands-on result.
2) Using relatable and familiar situations or objects creates memorable learning experiences. Instead of talking about engineering in a form that can be confusing to preschool age children we are discussing it as it relates to real life. You would see situations such as this happening in a classroom block center where children are given building plans for real buildings they are familiar with, for example – The Children’s Museum. A teacher may pose a question such as, “There are so many wonderful rooms and things going on at the Children’s Museum, can you design the building and walkway so that families can easily get to each room during their visit?”
3) Children learn best from hands-on, involved experiences. In a STEM classroom, every experience requires interaction with the student. This involvement gives them the opportunity to truly understand what is happening to a level that they will be able to go home and repeat it to you! As children experiment to find solutions to problems all individual efforts are recognized, whether successful or failure, so that it remains a learning experience. Parent involvement is welcomed and encouraged in our classrooms, below you’ll see a bridge constructed by a student and their family made with all repurposed materials – our students truly are engineers in the making!
4) IT’S FUN! STEM experiences are the kind of experiences children love to be a part of because they’re different and engaging. Below, you’ll see a video of a preschool group completing a science experiment about clouds and how they form. From start to finish the experience is engaging, stimulating and most importantly, fun! The experiment is done in several steps with opportunity for each child to bring their own perspective and input to the group.
5) S.T.E.M. will be key to high level careers as an adult. The world around us is constantly growing and changing, “STEM jobs are expected to grow by 16% in the US by 2024 compared to only 11% in other sectors.” By introducing a love for science, technology, engineering and math at a preschool age our mission is to light a spark your child will be excited to pursue throughout their education journey, helping them to achieve success well beyond their educational years!
For more ways you can explore STEM is Arizona or to find elementary programs that offer STEM check out Arizona Stem Network!
We also offer resources, experiments and ideas to implement STEM into your home on our Pinterest board!