What's so Great About STEM?
Hi, I'm Lisa from Happy Explorers. I teach kindergarten science and technology programs around Melbourne. And I am very much in love with play-based STEM activities for the early years learners. Why? Because it's incredible to learn about life and so so SO joyful to create new things. When I teach kids science and technology, I get to see that moment of excitement and wonder when their face lights up in discovery. That's what STEM play is, creation and exploration!
I am sure you have already heard of the term STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). It's the buzz word for modern teaching practices that combine the four disciplines in classroom practice. The idea is that STEM in schools will fuel better jobs prospects for our kids in our evermore digital future. But what is STEM education in the early years?
In a nutshell, it's all about exploring, asking questions and seeing if YOU can find the answers to your questions. STEM exploration will give early years learners the basics building block to use later in life, and it can be just as fun as any game out there. In fact, any game will have STEM elements in it. It's just a matter of seeing the STEM in the game. STEM is all around us.
A great way to start play-based STEM games is to find a children's book you love and find the STEM in it. Then create a little activity that helps explain the exciting bits. Here's a little recycle DIY moon project I created with my kids to go with a book I was reading called 'Where does the Moon go".
You may be wondering why this is so important? At it's best, STEM education teaches thinking skills. The ability to ponder questions and seek answers helps children to think about the world around them. It builds their confidence in asking questions, trying things out, planning for ideas, organise their thoughts and helps foster a love of learning.
Don't be afraid to use correct STEM-related words when you see them come up in your everyday life. And be full of questions for your little ones. It doesn't matter if they are wrong or right. They will build their understanding of the many different things they see and hear, and over time, that will change to a more accurate definition.
Below is a few more STEM DIY that you might like to try at home. I know you will love them as much as they do, which will make the learning experience that much more inspiring for your children.
If you're a parent, kindergarten teacher or prep teacher wanting to know more about STEM ideas and information, check out Lisa's Website and Instagram!