top of page
Search

Why is Creating a Foundation for STEM at a Young Age Important?

By: Keerthana Vinod


STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. However, I’m sure you already know that because of friends, media, or (where I learned it) school. In today’s day and age, STEM plays a vital role in our day-to-day lives. Because of this increased reliance on these fields, schools are introducing some more STEM-oriented curricula to elementary students. However, the question prevails: why is creating a foundation for STEM at a young age important? In this article, we’ll observe the benefits of a STEM foundation, cover how this curriculum can be incorporated into school settings, and touch upon the issues of availability this new approach to learning introduces.


As this new STEM-oriented curriculum is introduced to classrooms, a multitude of benefits of this new way of learning can already be observed within the students. As AccelerateLearning states, “Children have an innate curiosity. It makes sense to foster that curiosity and tap into early problem-solving skills with hands-on, exploratory activities.” This is precisely why STEM learning is so successful. The interactive approach to learning that STEM provides allows children to learn naturally, as it builds off their innate inquisitiveness. Apart from the STEM-oriented curriculum being a more child-friendly way to learn, it also promotes the development of important skills and cognition. It helps students grow in areas such as creativity, perseverance, and communication/teamwork. Additionally, it encourages students to be innovators and think independently, thus improving their problem-solving skills. This foundation in STEM early on will allow children to be prepared for the future, as technology continues to become intertwined with our daily lives.


Contrary to popular belief, this new STEM-oriented curriculum can be easily incorporated into different, already existing curriculums. Simple activities done in the classroom can be tied to STEM in a multitude of ways. AccelerateLearning puts it best, stating that even a “read-aloud of The Very Hungry Caterpillar can quickly turn into a science activity about butterfly life cycles.” Schools may also build in this STEM curriculum: group projects, experiments, exposure to professionals(guest speakers), field trips, varied assessments, and more. In this way, schools across the globe can include STEM learning in their curriculums, thus building a strong foundation for elementary school students.


It is increasingly clear that STEM-oriented learning is extremely beneficial to students, as it builds a foundation for them in STEM. However, not all students can be given this opportunity. The largest demographics left out include special needs children, those in poverty, and members of linguistic/ethnic minority groups. This gap in STEM education continues to rise as time passes, allowing fewer students to develop vital skills and pursue STEM careers. However, there is hope as multiple organizations are striving to improve the conditions for these children. For example, STEMIE is working to “Develop and enhance the knowledge base on engagement in STEM learning opportunities for young children with disabilities (ages 0–5)” and “Implement high-quality technical assistance and professional development to increase engagement for young children with disabilities in STEM opportunities” (U.S. Department of Education). Slowly but surely, efforts are being made to make the opportunity to build a STEM foundation available to all students.


STEM continues to grow and change the world around us, and so it is increasingly important that people start building a strong STEM foundation from a young age. As it offers a multitude of benefits, it is clear that this new style of learning will not be leaving anytime soon. Next time, try asking your kid or younger family member/friend about what they learned in school. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something new.




Works Cited:

Staff, A. L. I. “Why Is STEM so Important in Early Childhood Education?” Blog.acceleratelearning.com, 17 Nov. 2022, blog.acceleratelearning.com/why-is-stem-so-important-in-early-childhood-education#:~:text=Why%20is%20STEM%20important%20in. Accessed 18 Feb. 2024.

U.S. Department of Education. “Early Education Inclusion in STEM Can Lay Groundwork for Future | Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Blog.” Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Blog, May 2019, sites.ed.gov/osers/2019/05/early-education-inclusion-in-stem-can-lay-groundwork-for-future/.


20 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page