MAY / JUNE 2018
Five Ways to Enhance STEM/STEAM Learning for Your Child
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. STEAM adds Art to the mix. STEM was first used to describe fields of study to help immigrants get work visas. Today, STEM/STEAM is used to guide curriculum that encourages hands-on learning for all children. Your child is engaged in STEM/STEAM learning when they pour liquids during water play, build a blanket fort, or mix colors while painting you a picture.

Here are five ways you can support your child's STEM/STEAM learning.
Take Five_1
S is for Science. C hildren are natural scientists who use simple methods to explore their world. You can spark their interest in science by taking a nature walk and letting them dig in the dirt, listening for bird sounds in your backyard, visiting the zoo, or allowing extra time for water play when they're taking a bath. Encourage them to ask questions and explore.
 

Take Five_2
T is for Technology.  Technology isn't just cell phones and computers, it includes any created object - such as  pulleys, wheels and levers -  that can be used to create a cause and effect. Playing with wheels on a toy, making a ramp out of blocks and cardboard to roll a ball from here to there, or creating a catapult out of Popsicle sticks are simple ways to help your child explore technology.
 

Take Five_3
E is for Engineering.  Engineering uses science, math, and technology to solve problems. Your child is engineering when they stack blocks, build a blanket fort, or use sticks to redirect a stream of water. As they get older and become more verbal, start asking them "what will happen next" questions to expand their exploration.
Take Five_4
A is for Art. Art is sensory exploration that includes painting, drawing, pretend play, and music. Finger painting helps children explore how different colors are created when they mix them on paper. Drawing helps them learn how to use symbols to represent real things. Pretend play, making music, and dancing are ways for children to tell a story or express emotions before they are able to read or write. 
Take Five_5
M is for Math. Math is the study of measurement, shape, size, distance, quantity and pattern. An infant is studying geometry when they explore an object with their mouth. Questions such as "can this box hold more blocks than this one" or "is your teddy bear bigger or smaller than mine", give children exposure to quantitative analysis. Using measuring cups and spoons while cooking together is another fun way to teach math concepts.


Q.  My child loves to be outdoors. If I want to incorporate STEAM into my child's learning, does it have to be in the classroom ?
 
A. Nature is one of the best environments for spontaneous exploration. Your child can start exploring different textures, smells and sounds outdoors at the park, in your backyard, or even on the sidewalk in front of your apartment building. 
One fun activity is to have your child outline the shadow of a tree or building on the ground and come back a few hours later to see if the shadow has moved or is different. Talk about how the shadow is different and what made it change. 
Bring items from nature inside for more exploration. Use the plants, stones and sticks they collect for counting practice or have your child use them to create a piece of art .


Do you have a question or a topic you'd like us to explore? Contact Parent Services at
PSstaff@ndchildcare.org or call 800-997-8515


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