To have a better quality of teaching and learning amongst students, the integration of religious value in preschool STEM (science, technology, engineer, mathematics) curriculum has been considered by National STEM Movement Malaysia to create a holistic understanding of science.
Will this integration make the STEM curriculum more stable in preschool? Yes, because all these while religious education has been separated from other subjects, so, with this integration, a country could produce more intelligent students that excel both in Islamic studies and STEM.
How to make this happen? Do not worry, this article is all about suggesting ideas to you on how to integrate religious value in preschool STEM curriculum.
STEM is all about hands-on experiments. It means that children will be learning about the 4 disciplines throughout the time they are working on an experiment.
There will be science, mathematics, or the other 2 disciplines’ principles that the children will be learning from the hands-on experiment. For instance, children need to learn about the senses lesson. Through this lesson, children need to do surprise bag activity (enhance their touching sense) and observation chart but at the same time they will also learn about are the senses that we use during performing the prayers five times a day.
This could inspire and make the children interested to learn and do more STEM experiments because, in their eyes, they are learning through play. Through the outcomes of the hands-on experiments, teachers can help the children to discover and strengthen their faith by connecting with the wonders of our universe.
Relate with Lesson
ALFA and Friends have taken this as an important factor in learning science. Thus, we have designed the Little Scientists’ lesson plans for the Islamic version in a manner where the teacher will be able to relate surahs and explain the science concept in a religious context. For instance, a lesson about “Living Things” is the first topic for 6 years old students.
Children not only will be doing a hands-on experiment assembling the Moving Human (kit is provided) but also children will be learning how to write Al-An’am in calligraphy and will be taught about the surah in Al-Quran (Chapter 16 Verse 5).
ALFA and Friends are currently changing their direction to integrated STEM which there will be no issues raised if the elements of Little Scientists need to STEM-ified. The baby steps have been taken and ready to leap to another stage to integrate the religious value in the preschool STEM curriculum.
Promote Islamic Ethics
To integrate the religious values in the preschool STEM curriculum, teachers need to make sure and train the children to be able to behave ethically (adab) according to Islamic teaching.
Teachers need to make sure that children will be impacted through the teaching which makes the children more desirable in gaining knowledge and includes values such as dedication and cooperation in learning.
This is where STEM education becomes the best integration with the religious value because it promotes all the ethics and values needed to mould the children to be a better Islamic. For instance, the teacher assigned the children to build a vehicle that can travelled both land and water, children will be motivated to help each other to finish their tasks (cooperation) and they are also committed to finishing the tasks according to the process explained by the teacher (dedication).
Through STEM, children will be more excited to learn because there will be tons of hands-on activities and experiments and more student-centered instead of more exercises and more teacher-centered. Do you know that one STEM activity could promote different values and ethics to the children? Yes! Therefore, preschools need to consider the integration of the religious value with STEM as their curriculum.
Even though the tone of this article is serious, but it is fun and exciting to the children once you integrate the religious value to the STEM curriculum in your preschools. Islamic studies will not be isolated anymore.
This integration will take time as changes cannot be done in one however this integration between STEM curriculum and religious value will become the bridge than divide science and Islamic studies.