STEM Starts Young
Being raised in a family of all engineers—my mom, dad, and both brothers—it’s no surprise that I majored in biology/biotechnology and married an engineer. Needless to say, science and technology have been a huge part of my life, which is why it’s amazing to me that even at my son’s age, his school puts an emphasis on STEM. After seeing his curriculum and development I’m a firm believer that it’s appropriate—even at the early childhood level—and it’s never too early to introduce these concepts.
Kids are naturally curious by nature, making them young scientists; they love to learn about the world around them by observation, imitation, and discovery. How can infants, toddlers, and young children study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics? At my son’s school, each week is a different theme. One week they learned about dinosaurs and had an “excavation.” Another week, the theme was under the sea, so they pretended to be marine biologists. They played in sensory bins filled with water, sand, and other objects. Their toys were simple levers and mechanics. On a daily basis, they build with blocks and stacking toys. They count and learn with manipulatives. Teachers encourage their critical-thinking skills by engaging in conversations that cover the “how” and “what.”
I’m extremely impressed that today’s educators are recognizing the importance of STEM education in their schools and curriculums. I’m even more impressed when my son comes home talking about everything he learned and everything he did over the course of one day. When we as parents and educators make learning fun, we’re setting up our children for success!