Why there is an urgent need to teach STEM to Pre-K and Elementary School Children?
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education has gained a significant amount of attention over the last several years. Recent studies have identified Pre-K and Elementary school years as the formative period when children develop their interests in STEM—which is much earlier than most people believed! However, there is a lack of adequate STEM education during Pre-K and Elementary school years that results in a progressive decline in pursuing STEM careers by students from middle to high school and beyond.
When to introduce STEM for children?
Neuroscience research has taught us how a child’s brain is extremely malleable during the first decade of life; rapidly forming new connections between neurons and creating a dense network that encodes learning (Figure 1). An example is language: children learn a language with ease during the early formative years as opposed to learning it during adulthood. It is precisely at this stage that one should introduce effective STEM education to inspire them to be “STEM smart” by capitalizing on the parallels of early brain development.
Elementary Roots, STEM and the Brain – What it’s all about?
Children, by birth, are natural Tinkerers, Engineers, and Explorers.
By changing our approach to elementary education through Experiential Learning, we can plant the seeds of creativity in our children at an early age to inspire them to be “STEM smart“.
We need to focus STEM education through hands-on experimentation whilst leveraging early brain development.
Praba is a children’s book author of a STE(A)M series for Pre-K and Elementary School Children. He uses creative illustrations to teach STEM concepts from an experiential learning perspective. His books have been recently reviewed by Midwest Reviews and have also been nominated as the “2016 Children’s Literary Contest Finalist” for the Pacific North West Association Award. Praba’s motivation to write stories for children, especially girls, is to inspire them to take STEM careers as women currently hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering. He is an avid blogger and blogs on STEM and Experiential Learning. For more information, visit us at: http://www.boon-dah.com/books
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