As parents of children who are moving through various school ages, there's a common acronym you've either heard already or definitely will be hearing in the near future: STEM. Short for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, STEM is a vital area for developing minds and future generations - and it's never too early to be thinking about these concepts for your children.
At Devlin's Child Development Center, we're proud to offer a wide range of early child care programs for clients around Sandy, including preschool classes, daycare and more. And while we certainly won't be teaching your preschool-aged kids PhD-level mathematics or anything of the sort, there's real value to at least introducing them to these kinds of subjects early in life - both in the classroom and at home. Here are some of the reasons this is so valuable for children, plus a few basic home tips on how to incorporate basic STEM introductory topics into daily life.
A major skill for children to learn as early as possible is how to problem-solve. STEM subjects naturally lend themselves to this, whether it's a basic math equation or an engineering project that requires creative solutions.
Introducing these topics at home can help children develop their abilities in this area, while preschool classes and daycare often feature puzzles and lessons designed specifically around encouraging problem-solving skills. You might also consider hosting small STEM-based activities like building a bridge with paperclips and tape, or using basic math equations to calculate the temperature of a cup of water.
Another huge benefit for introducing children to STEM topics early is the way it can help boost their curiosity. When your child is exposed to something new and interesting, like a math equation or an engineering project, they'll likely be more interested in how things work and why - which can lead to further investigation down the line.
When they're very young, you can help promote this curiosity by introducing them to simple STEM concepts and activities. For example, you could have them measure a few items around the house with rulers or measuring tape and compare their sizes.
While traditional learning remains very important for children, it's also great to give them the opportunity to be hands-on with their learning. STEM activities and projects can easily provide this kind of experience - whether it's building a toy bridge or creating a basic computer program.
These kinds of activities are often featured in early child care programs like daycare and preschool, but you can also try introducing them at home by gathering simple supplies and working on projects together - like building a mini robot or programming a virtual drone.
Some of what makes STEM so important is that the concepts apply in real life. Knowing basic math equations can help your child understand and make sense of the world around them, whether it's helping you measure out furniture for a new house or helping themselves calculate simple prices when shopping.
Engineering skills come in handy too, as they can help kids be more creative and independent with everyday tasks. Plus, innovating with technology can help children understand how people use STEM to make their lives easier and more efficient - which can also be a huge motivator for later on down the line.
While no one is saying your children need to know their life's pursuit at such a young age, introducing them to STEM subjects early can help them figure out their passions and hobbies. For example, if they're really into math and science, it could be a sign that they should pursue further studies in those areas.
Or, if engineering is more of their thing, you can slowly begin incorporating activities that will foster their skills and abilities - such as building structures with paperclips or creating a small drone. One of the most important aspects of introducing children to STEM topics is that it helps them identify what they're interested in, which can give them direction and focus for their future studies.
While we've already gone over some of the ways you can incorporate STEM into daily life, let's quickly review a few key tips to help get you started:
Ultimately, one of the best things parents can do for their kids is introduce them to these topics early on - as this will help boost problem-solving skills, foster curiosity and even potentially lead to finding interests and passions. So, if you're looking for ways to help your children get started with STEM, be sure to consider the tips and opportunities we've mentioned here!
At Devlin's Child Development Center, we can help introduce your children to the world of STEM through our various programs in Sandy. From daycare and preschool classes to field trips and hands-on activities, there's something for everyone - so be sure to contact us today if you're interested in getting started!