Today’s society increasingly requires skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In almost all industries, quantitative skills and basic knowledge in using computers are indispensable. But is it necessary to include STEM in early education? More and more researches and evidence show that it is not only necessary but a practical must for the benefit of both children’s individual development and the growth of our economy as a whole.
Traditionally, parents and caregivers value literacy when educating young children. It needs to be recognized, however, that math and science learning is equally crucial in early childhood development. Scientific inquiry and exploration — the core for math and science — are the foundation for active learning and logical thinking as well. In other words, acquiring STEM-related knowledge early on in childhood sets the cornerstones for one’s intellectual growth. A child who learns how to think from the start of his/her mental development is guaranteed to succeed in whichever field — humanities, social science, or STEM — that he/she chooses to commit to later in life.
On the other hand, early childhood is, a suitable though often neglected, time period for STEM learning. According to the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, the brain is particularly receptive to learning math and logic between the ages of 1 and 4. Young children are naturally curious and inquisitive about the world around them, and what parents and caregivers should do is to provide them with learning environments that can take advantage of their natural inclination to explore.
But you may ask: what counts as a “learning environment?” Don’t you need to first learn letters and words in order to understand Newton’s Laws or computer systems? Dearest’s answer is a definitive “No.” STEM learning is not restricted to the science curriculum at school; it can easily be incorporated into children’s daily life and play, and thus exert an invisible but formative influence on children’s intellectual development. For example, the importance of playing with educational toys is not to be underestimated. When designing architectures for an imaginary city using building blocks, children effectively learn about basics in engineering different materials and structures in the 3-dimensional space. When piecing together puzzles with friends, they naturally practice math and problem-solving skills in a social setting.
So, in the end, it all comes down to personalizing an early education that can bring the best out of each child. Luckily, you don’t have to be a professional in child education yourself to achieve this goal. Dearest educators specialize in various fields, including STEM. If you want your naturally-born little explorer, scientist, or scholar to realize his/her potentials, book a session at www.dearest.io!