Image Source: Pixabay
Why Should My Child Engage With STEM At An Early Age? As technology continues to advance and we all become more entrenched in a digital world, STEM career and educational opportunities will continue to grow and ultimately remain vacant if we don’t encourage our children to engage with STEM at an early age.
Early exposure to STEM concepts will help children wholly develop. It teaches them soft skills like teamwork and communication while simultaneously nurturing technical skills like computational thinking and coding. And even if they decide not to pursue a career in math, science, engineering, or technology, children can still use what they learn from this early introduction for years to come.
Let’s look at three benefits of exposing your children to STEM at an early age and tips for integrating it into your child’s routine.
Aid Social Development
People often talk about the benefits of STEM in terms of educational and career advancement. But encouraging your child to engage with STEM at an early age can also aid their social development.
For example, gamification plays a crucial role in STEM education and future development like career skills. Children often learn science, technology, engineering, and math concepts through games. This can especially resonate with young children, and it’s often the first way STEM is exposed to them. These games usually require kids to play with or against each other. And this teaches them how to work together to achieve a common goal, improves their communication skills, and develops their ability to lead others.
All in all, STEM can help your child develop crucial soft skills that will help them successfully socialize their entire lives. Aside from social development, encouraging your child to engage with STEM at an early age also assists them in their educational journey.
A Focused Educational Journey
Academic growth is just as crucial as social development. And encouraging your child to engage with STEM at an early age can positively influence their educational journey. Instead of coasting through a general education, you can focus your child’s educational journey on the interests and passions revealed through STEM.
For example, if they play with building blocks every day and find joy in making skyscrapers, you could introduce construction or architecture in their education as they get older. Or, if they’re incredibly tech-savvy for a child their age. It could be beneficial to enroll them in a tech-related after-school program when the time comes.
Also, when children get older, they’re often discouraged from pursuing higher education in STEM because let’s be honest. It’s going to take some serious time and effort to make it through to the end, and many kids just don’t think they can do it. But introducing STEM early on can turn this around.
Baker College explains that “Unfortunately, many students opt not to pursue STEM degrees because they perceive the subjects as being too difficult. With lifelong exposure and preparation to tackle STEM subjects, students can overcome this perception and make these advanced degrees and coursework not only less intimidating but a natural extension of their early education.”
In other words, when STEM is introduced early on, it makes pursuing higher education in these fields a lot less scary. Your child will be encouraged to continue learning instead of dissuaded from doing so because of how much work is ahead of them.
Additionally, when STEM is prioritized in a child’s educational journey from a young age, it can also better prepare them for their future career.
Companies struggle to find qualified candidates for open STEM positions. Moreover, noting that most candidates aren’t adequately educated or possess the necessary skills to make a true contribution. STEM careers are exceptionally lucrative and in high demand. Putting STEM in your child’s life at an early age. Will help them prepare for a career in any of these fields.
But even if they don’t pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, or math. The foundational concepts learned are easily transferable to various career choices. For example, problem-solving skills are fantastic in sales positions, and mathematical skills do wonders in finance.
Now, if you’re on board with the benefits of introducing STEM to children at an early age. Read on for guidance on how to integrate it into your child’s life.
Moving Forward With Integrating STEM into Your Child’s Routine
After reading up on a few of the key benefits of getting your child to engage with STEM at an early age, you’re probably wondering how to move forward. So, here are some tips for integrating STEM into your child’s routine today:
- Explore books on various STEM topics, accomplishments, and experiments
- Implement tech tools and apps in their learning activities
- Conduct scientific experiments and present findings to family
- Take apart electronics and putting them back together
- Set aside time for STEM games
- Do daily puzzles and problem-solving activities
- Enroll your child in STEM-related afterschool programs
- Build something for the science fair every year
- Explore the outdoors frequently
- Encourage critical thinking by asking how and why questions
- Turn daily duties like cleaning the playroom into STEM lessons
Ultimately, if you’re going to incorporate STEM education in your child’s routine at an early age. Do so consistently and in various ways to ensure it supports their overall development.
Written by Ainsley Lawrence who is a freelance writer with an interest in balanced living through education and technology. She loves travelling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a good book.