Though much of the learning that students are imparted occurs in the classroom, it isn't the place where they spend most of their time. Classroom learning is vital in a child's academic life but the most promising way to harness children's interest across a range of subjects is, in fact, through their parents. Parents play the critical role of their children's first teachers and can inculcate curiosity, inventiveness, and creativity in them. This is why when it comes to specialized learning like STEM education, educators are heavily relying on passionate and engaged parents to drive children's interest towards the multiple disciplines under the umbrella of STEM. Because STEM education unites concepts that are usually taught as separate subjects and emphasizes the application of the knowledge acquired to real-life situations, it is necessary that parents inspire their wards to take up STEM and educate them on how it can give their career a leg up in the future.
If you are a parent looking for engaging ways to drive your child's interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and their applicability in the real world, here are some interesting things to know before you go ahead.
STEM CAN BE MADE INTERESTING THROUGH EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING
To make STEM learning a truly immersive learning model, parents have to dive into the core of STEM with their kids. It is generally assumed that the STEM subjects are complex and serious in context and involves more analytical reasoning. This often repels children at a very young age and it becomes double the work for parents to reinforce a positive image towards STEM later in life. Therefore, it is essential to introduce children to the entertaining side of STEM by making them watch documentaries and series that are related to STEM fields. Many channels run extensive programmes that can help stimulate interest towards science-based themes like space exploration, environment, evolution etc. in both young and old learners.
STEM ENABLES BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENTIFIC ISSUES IN THEIR REAL WORLD CONTEXT
Problem-solving is essentially the core of STEM education. Unfortunately, when we talk about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, a lot of people fail to see their applicability in day-to-day life. The purpose of knitting the four domains together is to explore how their interconnection enables real-world problem-solving. As parents looking forward to make STEM more interesting to children, it is important for them to let their children understand how STEM helps in solving real problems that go a long way in making them more curious and analytical in life. When students brainstorm solutions by synchronizing them with STEM learning, the subjects become more interesting, their thinking skills come into play, and they realize how these subjects have massive applicability in real life. This drives in them the confidence to take up STEM-based careers in the future.
PARENTS' ACCESS TO STEM RELATED COURSEWORK CAN PAVE BETTER UNDERSTANDING IN CHILDREN
One of the best ways to help your child pursue a career in STEM is by becoming a part of the learning process. Very few people are sufficiently STEM-educated and the research space is a little less defined for children to explore on their own. This is where parents can make a huge difference by assimilating themselves into the learning process by accessing STEM-related coursework. Parents can become an invaluable learning resource to children by attending various STEM-related workshops, seeking guidance from STEM educators on the issues that their children are grappling with, and in also finding and using available resources that will be able to prepare children for college work in STEM subjects and provide better insight into careers in STEM field.
CONNECT CHILDREN TO PEOPLE IN THE STEM FIELD TO DRIVE INTEREST
To make STEM truly interesting to children, it is important for them to know where it can lead them careerwise. This is why as a parent, you need to bring your kids face to face with the practicality of STEM. The best way to do it is by exposing them to the various career options that the STEM model can ascertain them. You can introduce your children to people who are already working in a STEM-based field. This is the best way to lead students towards fields that they are truly interested in. There are also many internship programmes across various fields under STEM where students can enrol themselves to get a holistic idea of what is in store for them and also make lasting career connections.
ENCOURAGE QUESTIONING IN YOUR WARDS
Many times children tend to be overly curious and ask questions that leave parents perplexed. Well, this is actually a promising sign that your child has a STEM mindset. While this habit might seem fairly innocuous, it could actually be the beginning of a critical approach in children that might eventually drive them to create solutions for bigger problems. Curiosity is one of the most fundamental requirements for STEM education to be successful and if your children are exhibiting signs, make sure you fuel their interest by explaining things that they do not understand. This will also enable them to scrutinize, investigate, develop hypothesis, forecast, test and reach conclusions with greater efficiency.
For STEM learning to be successful, it needs to be driven out of the classroom and given a more practical outlook. And it is only through parents who are willing to actively participate that children can be made aware of STEM career opportunities that are gradually outpacing the expansion of nearly all other fields.