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Science and technology are known to be the pillars of development and are crucial for building a smarter, more self-sufficient and aware society. The aspects of Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics lay the foundation of a more evolved tomorrow. This is the main reason why STEM has been gaining more and more popularity in the recent times. It is crucial for children to turn towards the world of science and innovation and this can only be done by educating our kids about these concepts. Kids begin to explore, observe and interact long before they begin high school and sometimes even elementary school. STEM has therefore proven to be a tried and tested academic discipline that delivers astounding results every single time. From the innovation of the 3D printer to major breakthroughs at NASA, STEM research has done it all. While it has been established that STEM can give every child's career a boost, there are still questions on how to integrate these concepts early on. Here is your guide to trigger your child's STEM learning right from a young age. The right age to begin STEM It is extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact age when a child should begin STEM learning. However, there is a simple way to start early. The most essential requisite to study STEM is curiosity. This can be recognized and boosted in babies very easily. If your baby enjoys exploring new places, whether it is the dark spaces under tables and desks or the touch-sensitive devices in your house, it is clear that their level of curiosity is high. Applauding and uplifting this curiosity in your child and pushing the explorer in them can begin even in toddlers. Questioning the system Young kids have a knack for being inquisitive about everything and anything. Encouraging this habit in your kids is the key to increase their interest in how things work and thereby in STEM. The best way to foster this inquisitiveness is by being quick with your answers and having more conversations with your kids. Whether it is something seemingly senseless like, "why is the sky blue," or the more complex, "why are people poor/homeless," you should appreciate these questions as they will allow your child to think more. Begin at home Increasing your child's curiosity is the first step towards driving their learning side. However, parents need to do more than just having a conversation or addressing the swamp of their questions. Learning about STEM can begin at home if we take the right steps. Taking up unique learning experiments at home can help in increasing the child's curiosity and thereby begin their STEM learning. There are various hobbies like growing a fruit/ vegetable/herb garden at home, playing with blocks or even building forts that increase the budding curiosity in a child. Connect with nature Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs coming with a long line of challenges that need to be tackled. One of the biggest challenges has to be letting the children explore the real world. It is terrifying but absolutely necessary to understand a child's likings and inclinations. Several pieces of research have confirmed that early education helps drive the best results. Taking your kid out on a nature walk will easily show you which part of the real world drives his/her interest and will thereby help you focus on those areas better. So it becomes extremely essential to allow your children to connect with nature and discover their interests. Be a STEM guide While academics and teachers go a long way in educating children, parents have always been the torchbearers. Since the learning of crucial topics begins at a much younger age, it is extremely important for every parent to become a STEM guide, inculcating STEM learning in their kids. STEM is not just a tool or a kit but a way of life and every parent plays a crucial role in instilling these learning techniques. STEM learning needs to begin at a very early stage for it to drive the best results. There are numerous simple steps that will ensure that kids are eager to learn these disciplines. But the most important aspect of this technique is for parents to recognize the areas of interest for their kids and make sure that they nourish these interests and help their children build aspiring careers in STEM.
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.
Science, technology, engineering, and math AKA STEM not only underpins the economy but also our general well-being. If you thought STEM was just about coding and lab coats, you're in for a surprise. It is the foundation of manufacturing, food production, health care, and so much more. The bottom line - our world depends on STEM. Now that you know the bright prospects of your child's career in STEM, you might want to inspire them as early as possible. But the real question is just what skills do students need today to excel and pursue a career in STEM in the future? Well, as parents, you will have to instil a mix of 'soft' and traditional academic skills - ranging from creativity to statistics - often inadvertently undervalued by educators and parents. Here are five such skills: 1. Problem-solving The notion of modern skills binds together the STEM movement. Hiring managers everywhere expect their employers to know problem-solving; society needs it; doing your tax requires problem-solving. This is one skill that really matters. Any practicing engineer would confidently reveal that learning calculus to solve problems on paper doesn't come to use in real life but the way it teaches one to solve problems and to think about them is really important. 2. Creativity One skill that is simple and complex at the same time, is creativity. Thinking out of the box isn't always taught. One needs to look at a problem from a different perspective every now and then. As parents, you can nurture this by asking open-ended questions. Showing different science and math models to your child can push them to come up with varying ideas of what it means to bring together one idea. Or don't show a model at all and let them think of a solution of their own without any restrictions. Questions like 'Why do you think this is?' can help them reflect on what they did to solve a problem. This self-explanation can ignite creativity and collaboration in them. 3. Argumentation Arguing is not always bad - while your kids must refrain from baseless, behavioural debates - in STEM fields, using evidence to support a claim can prove to be a crucial practical skill. Reasoning lets your kids use analytical and critical thinking skills to observe patterns in data, understand what that pattern means, and then to use it to back an assertion. For example, let your kids have varied experiences with noisemakers - from tuning forks to speakers to whoopee cushions - which helps them collect data right in elementary school. And they will be able to use this data to put their abstract thought to good use and deduce that sounds are caused by vibrations. 4. Statistics This one specific skill applies across all STEM fields. Not higher levels of calculus or physics are needed for all STEM careers, but statistics. Deep diving into statistics lets kids explore probability and error rates - models that cleave to any type of problem they will need to solve in STEM. 5. Intellectual Curiosity Gone are the days when people used to stick the same role in an organisation for years. Millennials are preferring modern career paths - ones that involve short stints in one role and moving on to another one. They are not just interested in mastering content but are also training to be innovators, learn from failures and keep moving on. Cutting across disciplines and asking questions that help networking is something every kid looking for a career in STEM should know how to do. And intellectual curiosity can help them be lifelong learners and try to figure things out in all walks of professional and personal lives. If there's one other ability that students pursuing STEM education should possess, it is the flexibility to quickly adapt to new demands and circumstances. Versatility also helps them learn a broad set of skills to be viable in the job market. The trick for parents is to give their kids original problems to tackle at home, problems that require children to use different areas of knowledge and skill. Parents, if there are any more focus skills that you particularly encourage your kids to have, please share in comments.