STEM Education, you’ve seen the term being used everywhere. You know what it stands for – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. But, do you know the importance of STEM Education to children?
It is commonplace for parents to believe that the key measurement of their children’s academic success is the ability to read and write at an early age. While that is immensely important, in an era where technology and media literacy is viewed as more valuable in the workforce than it was ever before, it has become increasingly significant for children to have early exposure to STEM Education and here’s the reasons why:
1- Honing on Children’s Curiosity
Naturally, children are born with the gift of curiosity which is your child will pester you every now and then with the most ridiculous questions and you as the parent has to give a good enough answer for it so they would stop barging in every 15 seconds just to say, “Mom, why do birds fly and we don’t?”
All jokes aside, STEM Education makes good use of this brimming curiosity in children by applying it to STEM activities in order to turn that curiosity into problem-solving skills. So, the next time your child wonders why birds fly and we don’t, they may just know exactly how to solve the question by themselves.
2- Developing a Future Generation of Innovators
One of the main advantages of STEM Education is that with its heavy emphasis on the four disciplines – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths, learners are shaped into becoming future innovators of the world, inspiring these learners from a very young age to have leading career aspirations such as becoming engineers, architects, designers, and many more.
Innovativeness cultivates a child’s ability to think analytically, critically, and creatively. All of which are essential 21st century skills.
3- STEM Readiness
In the 21st century, the popularity of implementing STEM Education in schools is effervescent. Across all levels, from preschools to highschool, STEM is adopted and embraced as an educational framework for the development of curriculum and programmes.
Parents discover that if their children experience ‘STEM immersion’ at an early age, the transition from preschool to primary school would not be as challenging.
How does this work? For starters, if a child is constantly gaining knowledge through STEM ideas and activities during their preschool years, they would be able ease themselves and quickly grasp the STEM concepts that would be introduced in primary and later, secondary school.
The goodness in STEM Education is that learners of all ages are able to benefit from it as the level of complexity can be adjusted according to each level of the learner.
4- STEM Fluency
With STEM readiness, comes STEM fluency in which is the ability to apply STEM whenever and wherever. It becomes second nature to a child and is not only contained as skills only used within the classroom.
To build STEM fluency is similar to building fluency of learning to speak a new language. Yes, that means repetition and practice. Even so, children absorb new knowledge like a sponge; hence why early exposure to STEM is crucial to a child’s cognitive development.
5- Building a Strong Foundation
Although it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths, the interdisciplinary characteristic of STEM Education takes into account all areas of education.
STEM lessons and activities in particular, build a strong foundation for other areas of a learner’s cognitive development such as language, literacy, and social skills. Reaping this benefit from an early age will contribute to long-term effects to a child’s learning progress, equipping them with all-around skills and cushioning any delays of learning that the child might encounter in later years.
6- Engaging with Unique Interests
With exposure at an early age, parents are able to explore hidden talents, interests, and uniqueness in their children’s learning style. Usually, this sort of information is a little bit difficult to assess by both parents and teachers as children tend to hide their true personalities in the classroom.
STEM lessons and activities, however, require constant collaborative and cooperative work from its learners which forces the children to interact with each other. STEM Education encourages its learners to make full use of their skills and innate talents to achieve a common goal. Through this, parents would be able to tell their child’s learning styles and preferences as each child learns differently.
Some children are visual learners, some are more verbal, while some prefer to work alone. Upon knowing what best fits your child, as a parent, you would be able to make the right decisions for your child’s education in the following years.
Certainly, there are many more perks of early exposure to STEM Education and surely it shows why STEM Education is important to everyone; not just for learners, but also, to parents and educators.