The four STEM disciplines are often considered staples in elementary, middle, and high school curriculum, but the early years are a great time to introduce children to the exciting world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Young children have a natural sense of curiosity. They build knowledge of the world as they explore and experiment. As an early childhood educator, you can stimulate and engage children’s thinking by integrating STEM experiences throughout your classroom.
In our latest Author Spotlight, we talked with Sally Moomaw, EdD, who has dedicated much of her research and work to STEM education. She’s the author of Teaching STEM in the Early Years (out this month) which provides more than 85 engaging, developmentally appropriate activities maximize children’s learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This book will encourage you to think differently about STEM education, and you will see how easy it is to accommodate curriculum goals and learning standards using STEM-based activities. With the growing focus on early childhood mathematics and science, this book is a much-needed resource for every early childhood classroom.
Dr. Moomaw shared three tips that you can use to help create a more STEM-friendly learning environment.
1. Try to make every moment a STEM learning opportunity. No matter where you are in the classroom, there is an opportunity to focus children’s attention on something interesting related to math or science.
2. Follow children’s ideas. If your goal was to plant seeds but children suddenly become fascinated with earthworms, follow their lead.
3. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge what you don’t know. Teachers and children can and should be co-investigators.
Tell us: Do you teach STEM in your classroom?