What are STEM and STEAM?
Chances are that you have heard the terms STEM and STEAM before. You might be wondering what they stand for and why they are so popular in education. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Both terms are used to describe an integrated, hands-on approach to teaching and learning. In a STEM/STEAM based program, students are learning and applying multiple disciplines at the same time in an authentic way. This mirrors how we solve problems in daily life. Very rarely can we solve a problem with just one approach, or on the first attempt.
Why Is A STEM/STEAM Education Important?
There is an increasing demand in STEM-related fields in the workforce. Children can begin developing the foundational skills for these fields in early childhood. A developmentally appropriate STEM education strengthens the critical thinking skills of young children. Through STEM challenges, children explore their own ideas and experiment with materials. They can make judgments based on their own observations and use this information to help solve problems.
STEM Challenge, creating a bird’s nest, that will hold an egg safely.
How Can You Support Your Child’s STEM/STEAM Education?
Children are naturally inquisitive. When your child shows interest in a subject, help guide them to draw their own conclusions by asking open-ended questions.
- “What do you see/hear/observe?”
- “Why do you think...”
- “What happened when...” before and/or after each attempt
- “What did it look/smell/feel/taste like?”
- “How can we solve this problem?”
- “Tell me about your...”
It is also important to allow an hour of child time to explore. We live in a fast-paced world, but critical thinking takes time. Allow your child time to inquire and experiment. Wait for your child to answer your guiding questions. They may need time to form an answer/thought.
At Northwest Children’s Center, we celebrate hands-on learning. Degreed teachers will help you build a schedule and child care plan that works best for your family. In operation since 1983, Northwest Children’s Center has been accredited by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) since 1999. Call (860) 635-3485 to schedule an appointment to tour our fabulous school!