Children have the capability to learn complex subjects at a very early age. In fact, many kids understand science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) when they are around one year old. However, this capability and curiosity of learning and understanding needs to be preserved and prevailed as a child grows.
In order to teach your kids to STEM at an early age, you need to allow them to analyze, question, and develop a sense of curiosity about their surroundings.
Nevertheless, neither the school system nor the parents realize the value of stimulation a child needs in order to develop these critical skills. In India, most schools don’t even have a curriculum for teaching children the basics of STEM. Since they are not introduced to science, technology, engineering, and maths at an early age, children tend to grow weary and afraid of these subjects when they have to finally face them in upper standards. As a result, we see most children avoiding anything related to STEM and choosing a different career altogether.
According to the National Research Council, kids develop ideas about their social, biological, and physical surroundings and their functionality before they are enrolled in school. However, once they enter the school system, their pre-developed ideas are not paid any heed to, and the kids are essentially indoctrinated.
Let’s see why it is essential to build upon the ideas of children rather than starting a new:
Stem stands for science, technology, engineering, and maths. While the school system covers science and maths, children are not introduced to engineering and technology, as needed for their proper cognitive development. Sometimes, children don’t learn about engineering and technology until they are in middle or high school.
According to many researchers, STEM education is vital for kids to develop an analytical mind and to narrow the gap between children’s cognitive achievements. Moreover, exposing children to such complex subjects helps them solidify their careers.
Since 1990, there has been a 79% rise in employment in STEM fields. Moreover, compared to non-STEM employees, STEM occupants earn up to 26% more on average.
However, unfortunately, adults tend to curb their kids’ enthusiasm about STEM subjects by disapproving of their interests and being absent when the kids seek support to further their interests.
As a caring adult, one needs to be supportive of their children’s dreams and enthusiasm. Good parents allow their kids to be curious and ask questions about their surroundings, thereby giving them positive reinforcement that they are on the right path.
How can one encourage their kids to gain an interest in STEM?
There are a million science-based projects you can do with your kids that are not only simple but also fun and entertaining. Here are some of the activities:
With technology activities, kids learn to employ technology to solve problems. Here are the following ways you can help your kids learn more about technology and its applications:
Using technology to solve problems helps kids a lot in their growth, but it also raises a question in their minds: Why and how can certain technology help them in their endeavors? This is where the engineering part of STEM kicks in. Since the school system does not introduce any subject close to engineering, at least until the kid is in middle school, as a parent, you need to take it upon yourself to make your kids aware of engineering. Here are a few ways you can introduce engineering to your kids in a fun and interesting way:
Many children are afraid of mathematics, especially when they are in higher standards. The reason for this fear is deep-rooted in their inability to understand the subject because they were never introduced to maths at an early age. You can have your kids participate in certain activities to curb this fear of maths and make them interested in the subject. Some of the math-centric activities for kids are as follow:
STEM can not only be taught to kids at an early age, but it can be a part of their life throughout their academic career and beyond. The earlier you start introducing your kids to these concepts, the better they would develop their cognitive and analytical skills. Nevertheless, make sure you are teaching science, technology, engineering, and maths in a fun way and not in a daunting manner, lest you want your kids to repel STEM concepts.
Whether or not your kid chooses to pursue a career in the STEM field is their own decision. However, at least they would grow smarter and have the proper problem-solving skills at their disposal in every aspect of their lives.