When faced with the topic of STEM learning for kids, many of us wonder what STEM actually is and why it is so important.
Many of us – parents - have heard a lot of talk in the media about the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) skills given the current global STEM skills shortage, which is expected to further increase in years to come. As parents we want to help our children to get the best education possible to help set them up for a good start in their adult lives. When faced with the topic of STEM, it often raises a lot of questions including when my child should start learning about STEM and what can I do as a parent to help nurture and develop my child’s interest and abilities in this area. As a parent is can be a daunting to get your head around how to best tackle this topic.
What is STEM learning?
There are a lot of questions these days around what STEM learning is. STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics – learning is really about an integrated approach to learning across traditional STEM disciplines such as engineering but also emphasizes the development of diverse transferrable soft skills such as collaboration, communication, research, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. The traditional educational curriculum has been focused until recently on learning per discipline, for example, mathematics and its formulae, in silo and isolation from real life and any other disciplines where mathematics are used. When we talk about developing STEM skills, this is really about an integrated approach to learning across STEM disciplines in terms problem solving, computational thinking and critical thinking. For example, in the past we would have learned to memorize chemistry or physics formulas, whereas today with a STEM learning approach children learn across multiple disciplines through activities.
STEM education is a direct realisation that our children’s future will be built around their capacity for innovation, invention and creative problem solving beyond the established traditional disciplines.
This is why STEM education is so important for kids today and in the future, considering they’ll likely be doing jobs that haven’t even been created yet. As parents, we need to provide them with an education which offers the best chances of success.
Imaginative and active hands-on purposeful play, when combined with problem-solving through play, are key to providing young children with an engaging and memorable experience.
At QuestFriendz we believe these elements help children to develop a natural interest in STEM from a young age. Starting STEM at an early age helps children to make important connections between everyday life and the STEM disciplines. Addressing young children also allows us to harness their natural curiosity. This magical state helps to accelerate learning including STEM learning. Children become better equipped to face a fast-paced and evolving world, when problem-solving skills and learning to fail are introduced from a young age.
We believe that the key here is to connect children’s imagination and curiosity about the world they live in with simple challenges where problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity are the keys to finding solutions. We call these educational challenges ‘quests’.
We’ll be sharing some of our favourite STEM educational quests for parents to try out with their kids at home or for teachers to try in the classroom. Stay tuned!