STEM’s introduction is important for our children. It is important to understand what STEM education is and how this initiative is striving to move the country from the middle of the pack to leaders in the world in both math and science achievement. Here is some information about how STEM is changing science and mathematics education and how our children will ultimately benefit.
What is STEM?
STEM, as defined, is a focus on leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for students and teachers. STEM was developed as an initiative to focus on education policy, curriculum and teacher development in order to create more teachers and encourage more students into technology fields. The initiative, developed by the National Science Foundation, aimed to reverse decades of declining interest and enrollment in science and mathematics.
The core to STEM is working with educators (parents and teachers) to encourage children to think holistically about knowledge. It uses a concept known as cross-contextual learning, which challenges children to apply concepts in math and science to other learning disciplines or activities. This concept shows children the relationship between the outside world and STEM learning.
The Importance of STEM in Early Education
Our ability to invent and innovate depends on a foundation of coursework in STEM disciplines. It is appropriate for children to be exposed to STEM learning as early as possible. Early exposure, as early as 1, 2 and 3, allows educators to take advantage of a child’s inquisitive nature. Waiting until children are in pre-K or kindergarten may be too late to take advantage of early development opportunities and make it harder to create a STEM learning foundation.
Teaching STEM principles to children as early as possible is something that can take place in many types of settings that are not as formal as the classroom. For example, changing a child’s pattern of questioning from “why” to “what” engages their minds and helps them not just accept answers but explore truths. This investigation into what is going on, as opposed to why it is, builds an important foundation into further exploration and discovery. A child’s early exposure to inquiry through STEM will become key to this country’s return to leadership in innovation and technology.
Using STEM to Teach Future Innovators
One priority of STEM is to increase the number of people entering certain disciplines. These include mathematicians, computer system analysts, biomedical engineers and medical researchers and scientists. Encouraging interest in these vital fields will provide a pipeline of educators who will in turn motivate future generations of scientists, technologists and innovators.
The current administration has established clear goals for the STEM program, along with measurable benchmarks. In addition to increasing the pipeline of qualified teachers, the program is looking to equitably distribute resources in order to ensure participation by low-income persons, minorities and women.
The earlier the better for this education strategy to truly effect generations to come and the only way to do this is to expose STEM as early as possible. Our educators understand where the future of education is going and implement this teaching on a daily basis to each and every student. Take the time to come and discover the difference a quality early education center can make for your child. Visit a Tender Care location near you today and take the first step in enhancing your child’s future.