What Is STEM?
“STEM” stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM can refer to the subjects individually or one or more working together, but can also mean a way of doing things that includes solving problems, asking questions, and exploring the world around us.
At ABC Spectrum Preschool we have set up an entire classroom dedicated to STEM learning. Students visit the STEM classroom, once or twice a week, with a teacher and small intimate group of 6 to 8 students. STEM concepts are introduced in the STEM classroom and then practiced and explored in depth back in the preschool classroom.
From birth, children are curious. You can build on that natural curiosity by developing their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. Use daily routines to build on skills and concepts in math and science. By talking, reading, singing or using other ways to communicate – whatever works best for your preschooler – you can help develop their STEM skills through play and exploration. For example, children learn about the concept of technology when they’re exploring tools or simple machines and investigating how they work. These can be items we use every day, like a scotch tape dispenser, a stapler, a tape measure, a salad spinner, etc.
Easy ways to promote young children’s natural abilities as scientists and engineers is by encouraging them to document their observations by drawing, painting, or recording their voices describe what they are noticing; constructing towers with blocks or other objects; and talking about the changes in nature – like the weather!
Research shows that having a strong foundation in early math, for example, can lead to higher achievement in both math and reading later in school. In addition, interacting with many different materials in early childhood prepares students for science and engineering later in school.
For young children, we focus on STEM through exploration, play, and building curiosity about the natural world and the way things work. STEM learning is important for everyone and can happen anytime, anywhere. The real-life skills that people develop when learning STEM help make everyone better problem-solvers and learners.