STEM in Early Childhood Education and Care
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM can be introduced into any preschool and is probably already part of your curriculum or children’s every day learning experiences. We’ve developed free STEM activities with video for preschool educators here. Read on to see how you can encourage curiosity and incorporate STEM into your preschool in 4 easy steps.
Science is all about- observing the world around us. Model this observation by communicating what you notice or experience with your senses throughout the day, and encourage children to describe the world as they experience it and observe it. Use compare and contrast and measurement words to describe things. Talk about the weather and sort things by attribute. Encourage children to make observations and explore with all their senses.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions encourage children to wonder and to use higher level thinking. Use phrases like “I wonder what would happen if…” or “How do you think we can….”. These kinds of questions encourage children to think about and solve problems and expand upon what they already know. When you ask open-ended questions you are also modelling curiosity.
Follow the Child’s Lead
Notice what your little learners are curious about. STEM is all about being curious and exploring. When children are curious and exploring, they are guessing and hypothesising as they are learning to make sense of their world. When children are allowed and encouraged to explore, they are empowered to do so often, which is exactly what we want in little scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.
Learn with them
Acknowledge that even you don’t have all the answers. “Wow, that is a great question! How do you think we can find the answer?” Welcome all answers to questions, even if they don’t make sense to you. Encourage children to explain the thinking that lead them to that answer. Communicating observations and trying to make sense of the world are important skills in STEM.
Provide the Tools
Allow children the opportunity to explore their observations and ideas with tools such as rulers and tape measures and magnifying glasses. Providing relevant tools allows children to expand upon what they already know about something or even experience a new perspective. Provide non-fiction and reference type books. Children will learn that books can be tools for finding answers too.
Access free STEM activities with video for preschool educators here