What is STEM Education?
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, are some of the most important skills adults use. STEM learning doesn’t just engage children and teach them new skills; it caters to children’s natural curiosity about the world around them and encourages them to become more involved in their academic studies at an early age. Exposing children to STEM at an early age can help provide them with a well-rounded education before they even step foot in a classroom. It also helps prepare them for their future careers.
How Does STEM Work?
The key to education is active engagement. You need to find age-appropriate ways to spark a child’s interest in STEM topics. For example, most toddlers aren’t going to be able to sit through a lecture on basic math; however, they may be able to play games to help them learn to recognize patterns or add.
STEM education is a teaching approach that can be implemented throughout a child’s life. While many parents start incorporating STEM into their child’s playtime at an early age, the approach is also used by middle and high schools to boost engagement. Older children typically develop and strengthen the skills they need for future careers, such as basic coding or complex problem-solving.
Why STEM Education is Important
Unlike other learning approaches, STEM focuses on relating education to real-world problems. By emphasizing a hands-on approach to key topics, children can quickly see how their education affects the world around them.
STEM can also help foster their interest in very specialized fields from a young age, such as robotics. Many people believe the possibilities for STEM-related jobs are endless. According to Life Science, STEM and STEAM-related jobs will continue to rise at a faster rate than non-STEM occupations. Some of these positions may not require a college degree; instead, they require specialized training or subject expertise.
The Benefits of STEM Education
Whether your child is one or 17 years old, they can benefit from the STEM learning approach. Here are just some of the reasons why you should consider incorporating STEM learning into your child’s daily life.
Improves Problem Solving Skills
One of the primary focuses of STEM is applying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to real-world problems. For younger children, this could mean stacking blocks so that they don’t tumble over or pressing a combination of buttons to get their favorite toy to work. Older students may use in-class problem-solving techniques to gain insight into the topic at hand and how it can be applied to their everyday life.
Thinking outside of the box is a key component of complex problem-solving. An important part of STEM is interaction and learning different ways to approach challenges. For younger students, this often means finding new ways to interact with their toys. For older students, this could mean showing them all the different ways a subject can be applied.
Fostering creativity doesn’t just encourage children to solve problems, it encourages them to innovate and find better solutions. This is a crucial skill for many career paths, such as computer engineering.
Exposes Children to Safe, Modern Technology at an Early Age
It’s no secret that technology is becoming more advanced every day. Teaching children how to interact with technology at an early age is critical to their development; however, parents are often concerned about their child’s safety. For example, some children love learning about the inter-workings of robots, but they might be too young to take one apart themselves. STEM encourages the use of age-appropriate technology and encourages them to learn how it works. This not only promotes basic computer literacy but also helps to spark interest in these rapidly growing fields.
Promotes Good Communication Skills
Communication and collaboration are both skills that are emphasized in STEM learning exercises. Even independent learning activities often promote good social skills. Artificial intelligence robots for children are a great example, as they often communicate with the child when no one else is around and encourage them to discuss their needs in a clear and efficient way, such as using a voice command to start their favorite game.
Older children often gain better communication skills from group activities. STEM in the classroom often incorporates group projects and discussions to help students better understand the subject at hand.
How to Introduce STEM Learning to Your Kids
STEM learning can be taught at any age. One of the easiest ways to start your child’s educational journey is through age-appropriate learning toys. There are several unique toys on the market that teach a variety of subjects and allow for a customized learning experience.
If your child isn’t quite ready for an interactive coding robot or science kit, try finding simple ways to spark their interest in different topics. For example, take them birdwatching and then show them how to safely search the internet for information on different species of birds.
While older children may take classes in school that actively promote STEM learning, it is important to find unique ways to explore these topics at home. Take a trip to the museum, complete do-it-yourself projects or find innovative ways to repair things around the house. If you ever run out of ideas, there are plenty of options for online STEM education.