Thank you to our sponsor, EPIC Endeavors Academy, for this post about STEM-related education.
As a young child, I was always exploring outside. I loved being in nature, watching the world around me change. I saw the leaves and flowers bloom in the spring. In the summer, I noticed all different kinds of bugs and listened to the birds sing. I was amazed by the changing color of the leaves in the fall. But how did this happen? Why did the bugs disappear when it got cold outside? I wanted to know why these things happened!!! STEM helps to answer these questions and more!
You might be thinking, “What is STEM, and how does it benefit my child?” STEM is a curriculum based on educating students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics by using an applied approach. Instead of teaching the four subjects separately, STEM integrates them into a single learning environment that is based on the real world. STEM is important because it pervades every part of our lives. Science and mathematics help us to understand and describe the world around us! Technology and engineering apply that knowledge to help solve real world problems. If we let students explore their world and expose them to STEM, students will develop the passion and skills to build a brighter future.
According to the United States Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17% compared to 9.8% growth for non-STEM occupations. Because of the high demand of jobs, STEM workers earn 26% more than non-STEM workers. The need for educated people in STEM careers is closely related to global competitiveness. America has fallen far from its place as a leader in math and science, experts said during a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Diversity Symposium at Capitol Hill. In fact, the United States ranked 25th out of 34 countries in math and sciences on standardized testing. In our endeavor to prepare children for their future, we need to open their minds to all the possibilities STEM has to offer.
As a preschool teacher at EPIC Endeavors Academy, we focus on STEM and provide hands-on and minds-on learning. This makes science and engineering fun for the students, who are excited to learn. I recently asked parents why they chose a STEM-based preschool. One parent said “I feel STEM is more important than any other topics taught in schools. Once I learned of a STEM preschool academy, I knew we had to sign our kids up. I feel creativity and exploration is learned through the STEM process and is valuable to the long-term education and careers of our kids.”
Expose Young Girls to STEM “As a country, we stand to gain a lot by exposing young girls to STEM fields and encouraging those who are interested to follow their hearts and minds.” –Karen Purcell P.E.
Why STEM for boys? “In a high-quality program, you are going to have STEM going on,” said Beth Dykstra Van Meeteren, director of the Center for Early Education in STEM at the University of Northern Iowa. “Research shows that giving children exposure to quality, hands-on STEM learning opportunities is so important and familiarity with STEM concepts early on is a key predictor of children’s school success.” –Susan Friedman
Our children will shape the future, and the future is STEM!!!
By Amanda Olson, Preschool STEM and Research Teacher