What is STEM? That’s the first thing to look at – at it’s core, it’s an approach to learning which integrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
With STEM children learn how to question the world around them, which is an important part of their development as this pre-prep school in London suggests. They also learn to work as part of a group or team, to think in a creative fashion and to solve problems in addition to discovering new ways of doing things.
Play is an important part of STEM
Play is a huge part of the way in which children learn; through play children can develop interest in and connect to the subjects they’re learning about. They can explore at their own pace and interact with others. At home, there are many opportunities to use play as a gateway to STEM.
The kitchen is an ideal classroom when it comes to STEM. Here are some ideas to get your child’s curiosity piqued.Cooking with your child is a good way to involve them in a fun but educational activity:• Measuring• Weighing• Tasting
These are all ways in which children can learn more about how food changes when it’s cooked or even when it’s frozen. Also, you can begin basic biology as you teach your child about taste – sweet or sour and savoury can all be discussed.
The garden – or even the window box is a great playground and learning space when it comes to STEM. Children can learn more about all sorts of STEM related subjects.• Insect development• Animals and hibernation• Plant growth
Arrange small experiments with your child – for example, you can sink a plastic container into the ground and then check on it the next day. All sorts of bugs will wander into the container and your child can see how many of them they recognise before releasing them.
STEM is incredibly accessible when you look around your home. Children are naturally curious so you can take their lead. As your child ask questions about certain objects or processes in your home, relate them to the area of STEM to which they correlate. For example, a question like “Where does the rubbish go when the truck takes it away?” can be a good introduction to the concept of recycling and how it works.
Your child will lead you if you listen and STEM will become part of your shared world very quickly.
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