One of the newer educational terms that we see frequently in the news is STEM education. But what exactly is STEM education and is it appropriate for preschoolers?
STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM Education, a term initiated by the National Science Foundation, refers to an educational approach which integrates more than one of these disciplines. Science, technology, engineering, and math may seem like lofty subject matter for preschool children. In reality, preschoolers spontaneously engage in STEM activities indoors and out on a regular basis. With a little guidance from us, we can enhance children's opportunities to engage in STEM learning and develop their critical thinking skills. While building with blocks, children can build bridges and ramps, incorporating engineering and math. They can add a technology component by researching these on the computer. Outdoors, children could help solve the problem of getting water to a garden they helped to plant, drawing on their science and engineering knowledge. Incorporating the use of children’s garden tools like rakes, shovels, and a wheelbarrow build on this activity to provide an even broader STEM experience.