Let’s start with – what exactly is STEM? The bottom part of a flower? NO – it is an actual learning curriculum concept and the acronyms stand for:
S – Science
T – Technology
E – Engineering
M – Maths
It is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach, and it can and should start in early childhood settings.
By fostering curiosity and questioning through play children can be exposed to the STEM concepts early in life, and apply these for all the years to come.
How You Can Foster Curiosity in STEM Subjects
- ask questions
- work together
- think creatively
- solve problems
- explore and take calculated risks
- test solutions to problems
- discover new ways of doing things
By encouraging children to ask questions, you are allowing them to take an active role in their own learning and helping them understand the world around them.
When children ask questions, they are developing their critical thinking skills and building their STEM capabilities. When they ask “Why?” try to not provide the answer.
Instead, respond with alternative questions and ideas, and encourage them to search for answers and solutions themselves.
Early Childhood Education and STEM in the Future
Did you know – recent research indicates that – 75% of all new jobs will require skills in STEM? As much as we don’t want to plan for every child’s life – statistics must be taken into account for the future planning of these generations, and different opportunities for these types of skills to be embedded from an early age – are not to be missed.
Now and into the future the demand from employers will be for STEM qualifications and skills, and will continue to only increase. Looking to the future in Australia the workforce needs people who can adapt to a changing workplace.
It is stated STEM empowers individuals with the skills to succeed and adapt to this changing world, and it all can begin in the formative early childhood years.
There is a multitude of websites and videos that can support Early Childhood Educators in creating activities in the service that promote a STEM curriculum- and STEM can be run from the Babies all the way up to the Kindergarten Programs!