STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is a buzz word in education at the moment. One of the reasons for the buzz is that these areas are ones which are essential to many careers these days. STEM also incorporates many concepts which are great for brain development and in the early years of life our brains are developing rapidly. In his article, 5 Simple Ways To Encourage Brain Development In Your Little One, researcher Ron Ferguson suggests some simple ways to assist in developing your little persons brain, you can read the full article here. Thinking about careers for our community of learners is a way off into the future, but there are many ways that we are developing foundation skills in science, technology, engineering, maths.
In T&C science is explored through hands on play, with activities such as colour mixing with paint and investigating floating and sinking in water play. We also observe the changes of solids to liquids when playing with ice and notice changes in nature around us e.g. our baby animals growing or fruit becoming ripe and ready to eat.
With technology we have opportunities to begin to use computers, iPads and projectors with adult assistance. With support we can learn to take photos, use devices in meeting times, and have fun interacting with toys with wheels or remote controls.
In T&C engineering involves building and creating with blocks, Lego, boxes. As well as talking about buildings see and make, in these conversations we practice language such as tall and short. Using ramps in our play gives us opportunity to find out how things move on them.
Math is incorporated everyday through counting in play and conversations e.g. how many friends are here today or how many turtles can we find. Songs are another great way to develop number awareness e.g. 5 little ducks and 1 little finger. Talking about our daily routine as we follow it, helps us learn about sequencing. With play dough we can make shapes and practice language related to size and position.
Perhaps you’d like to consider incorporating some of these ideas into your play at home. For more ideas you might also like to read this article about STEM with infants and toddlers; Let’s talk, read and sing about STEM.