STEM is an acronym for SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH. The STEM approach to teaching and learning integrates the curriculum content with skills of science, technology, engineering and math.
Many parents ask us what age we think it is appropriate to start teaching STEM to children. At the Early Learning Centers of Broward, we believe that it is never too early to start STEM education.
There are many good reasons for early STEM including;
- Young learners are naturally curious and questioning.
- Early learners are natural scientists.
- STEM education sparks a child’s interest in science, technology, and math.
- Foundations of scientific learning are inquiry and exploration; both are elements of STEM.
- STEM encourages developmentally appropriate instruction as children explore the world around them.
How We Teach STEM to Preschoolers
For young children, we focus on STEM through EXPLORATION, PLAY, AND BUILDING CURIOSITY ABOUT THE NATURAL WORLD AND THE WAY THINGS WORK. For example, children learn about technology by exploring tools or simple machines and investigating how they work. STEM education doesn’t require expensive tools. In fact, your child develops an understanding of STEM concepts as they interact with the world around them.
In truth, the research is quite clear that STEM education encourages the best practices in early childhood education. It shows the importance of breaking away from passive instruction to allow for more play and investigation. This kind of learning early in life builds problem-solving skills.
Furthermore, learning multiple languages early on also helps with STEM-like education. In fact, research shows that bilingual children have greater mental flexibility and increases their capacity to learn new concepts.
STEM education integrated with early childhood education taps into children’s natural curiosity. Therefore, it will give them ample opportunities to be active participants in their own learning. Natural settings offer children almost unlimited opportunities to explore and investigate. This leads to building STEM skills and creating a solid foundation for future learning.
Early Learning Centers of Broward is proud and privileged to have successfully incorporate STEM education into the Pre-K curriculum as well as afterschool. We encourage parents to continue this natural curious way of learning at home.