The Importance Of STEM In Your Child’s Development
What is STEM?
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.
In times gone by, the vast majority of parents didn’t consider science, technology, engineering or maths as a priority until their children had first spent a few years in school. However, in today’s technology-driven and ultra-competitive world, parents are beginning to see the benefits that can be gained from introducing STEM activities for their kids from a young age.
Here are a few ways you can get your child excited about STEM for kids long before they ever start school:
- Invest in science or technology-based toys, that are age appropriate. Chemistry sets, magic tricks, LEGO and many other toys are the foundation for a later understanding and love of science, tech, and maths
- Make sure you take your kids to places where they can learn how the world works. Whether it’s watching cows being milked at a dairy farm, or visiting a construction site to see how buildings are built, young children are information sponges with enquiring minds that will soak it all in.
- Find science museums in your area, and visit them. Along with museums dedicated to aviation, equipment, vehicles or other science-related items. Children learn by seeing and doing, particularly before they can read, so take them to places where they can see and do!
- Invest in age-appropriate digital learning products, like Leap Pads and similar devices. Screen time isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as it’s not watching cartoons or playing Candy Crush!
- Buy books that relate to STEM for kids. Even if you’re the one reading them to your child before bed, the ideas are sinking in, and they will be useful later on.
A lifelong love of science starts from an early age, but even if you haven’t started your kids off young, there are still things that you can do. Even if you think you’ve missed your opportunity, you probably haven’t. Here are a few ways you can get older kids caught up with STEM studies:
- Get involved, and get practical. Your children will understand forces, surface tension or electricity much better if you’re learning with them, building practical examples, and visually seeing the effects of science on the world around them.
- If your child asks you a question about how something works, and you’re not sure, get online and find out together! Sites like How Stuff Works are great, as are YouTube and others. Find them, and bookmark them!
- Don’t rely on school alone. School programs are great, but if you can get your kids into after-school programmes, do it. The more excited kids get about STEM, the more they will want to learn, and the better their skills and understanding will get!