STEM by its definition is an ‘interdisciplinary approach to learning where students learn and apply concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths’. The Early years is a perfect setting to begin to introduce children to these concepts. Children are naturally curious, searching with enthusiasm for the answers to their own questions. The child views the process as being more important than the end result, this makes them perfect candidates to take on the role of explorer, investigator and scientist. As educators we are aware of how critical the first 8 years are to child development, thus by stimulating and exposing children to such concepts at an early-age, connections are made in the brain which will have positive results in the future.
It is likely that you are already providing many opportunities for children to engage in STEM activities, with some careful preparation and reflection you can develop a rich curriculum which will allow pre-school children to experiment using hands on materials where they are enabled to explore, question and problem solve whilst learning basic concepts in science, technology, engineering and maths. It is important that all concepts are framed in a playful way and that children are involved freely choosing the tasks they wish to engage in.
When considering introducing a STEM activity in the classroom begin by focusing on the concepts and skills which you wish to introduce the children to. This might begin with a story, followed by a question or scenario, a problem for the children to solve, or a task to complete…
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