A lot of preschools emphasized the importance of STEM. But the question now is, what is the role of parents in supporting STEM education? Is it enough for the children to only learn STEM at school? There are so many questions, but the conclusion is parents need to support the importance of STEM education of their children, too. This responsibility is not only for the teachers.
1- Understand STEM
The first step to encourage parents to support the importance of STEM is by making them understand STEM! What is STEM? You cannot explain STEM with jargons, you will make it incomprehensible for some parents. Remember, less is more. If you want to be extra, maybe your preschools can conduct a parenting workshop on STEM! Build a rapport with the parents and they will trust you to take care of their children. They will also be encouraged to include STEM as a part of their lives at home.
2- Provide the right kind of toys!
Do you know that STEM is all about hands-on activity and playing? Tell that to parents. With the right educational tools in their hands, parents will be more supporting on STEM education at home. Nothing to prepare. Parents would definitely love this kind of activity. If parents out there still are wondering what the right toys are, there are some companies in Malaysia that provides STEM kits that promotes learning through fun play experiences. Some companies that you should look for to get these toys are ALFA and Friends or Atom & Dots.
3- STEM-Friendly Home Environment
How to support STEM? I wonder if parents know how to make their homes become STEM-friendly? Make everything, every activity become STEM! Children will be more than happy to do something if its all about games and playing, but indirectly they are learning about STEM.
Bring the children in the kitchen and start doing some STEM activities such as learning chemistry with pancakes, weighing scale, why food taste different and many more. As for teachers, maybe some ideas could be shared with the parents through group Whatsapp so at least they will have some guidance on how to kick start their STEM adventure.
4- STEM Subscriptions
Sometimes, it could be very exhausting thinking about something to do when you are not sure what they are about. Maybe, it’s time for you to purchase Spark Kit. The children will be having fun with various experiments and children will also get comic magazines that will explain how and why the experiments turns like that! This will be easier for the parents, too. They just have to flip and flip and read the content, and it will be easier for them to answer the children’s curiosity in every single step of the experiment.
Dear parents, if you think your children are loving the few boxes of SPARK KIT that you have (assuming you get them in AnF Shop), I think it’s time for you to subscribe for 8 months, or 1 year, if that option is available!
5- Encourage Questioning
Communication. That is the key to ensuring parents have a good relationship with their children. Dear parents… Don’t stop your children from questioning every single step that you made. Fuel their curiosity by answering all the questions by telling them “Why not we find out the answer by making an experiment on this?”! Trust me, children will be more than excited to find the answer to all of their questions. If you keep doing this, children will start to understand that it is okay for them to ask questions because they will have a joyful day doing fun STEM experiments!
So parents, tell your children, it is okay to ask questions. Encourage them to do so.
6- Let them be messy!
Of course, for some parents, messy is a no-no in the house. But sometimes it is unavoidable, especially if you have children around. With STEM, you will know the tricks on how to make a meaningful messy environment. Children love to make a mess, that is for sure.
With STEM activities, there are a lot of messy activities that involve bubbles, water, colours and recycle items. When parents support STEM at home and practice STEM, no more meaningless mess will be made by the children.
I believe parents are willing to do anything to ensure the learning of their children go smoothly, up to an extent they will allow a little mess here and there around their house.
7- STEM Challenges
Give problems to their children, especially at home. Challenge them to do STEM activities, but do not tell them that is STEM activity. Make them feel like they are doing a challenge instead of learning STEM. The way parents put their words will be very important to make sure the children are always excited to do something. Some of the STEM challenges that parents can do at home are:
8- Wonders in Kitchen
Do you know that there are a lot of things could be done in your kitchen? Little did the parents know, that their kitchen is the paradise of STEM activities. With only ice cubes, strings, water and salt, you will get magical STEM activities that can be done with the children. But how? Sometimes, working parents do not have time to browse every page out there in Google to find STEM activities, am I right?
Teachers in preschools should share the activities that the children have done in the classroom for the day. And then, they could suggest a few extended STEM activities that can be done at home. Ask the parents to share the moments between their children on Facebook or Instagram and tag the school. This will encourage the parents to do something with their children.