The United States Labor Department has predicted that the 10 fastest-growing career fields will all come from S.T.E.A.M. Additionally, the US has fallen behind other nations in science and math education. Getting kids interested, and maintaining their interest, in these fields early on is key in keeping up with the rest of the world. Closing the gender gap in these areas is important, as well. Getting girls interested in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math is critical to help raise their future earning potential.
From their earliest years, kids interact with S.T.E.A.M. everyday..."They learn to balance blocks to build a wall, they bat at a mobile to make it spin, and they push and pull magnets together and apart," say the good folks at NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children). Their research shows that the earlier parents begin to engage and support their child's wonder about the world around them, the more successful they'll be in the areas of S.T.E.A.M. when they enter school. And the more likely they'll want to enter one of these exciting occupations as an adult, too!
In 2007, a Carnegie Foundation commission of distinguished researchers and public and private leaders concluded that "the nation's capacity to innovate and thrive in the modern workforce depends on a foundation of math and science learning." They also concluded that a "sustained and vibrant democracy is dependent on the foundation of S.T.E.M." Unfortunately, in many schools, students are in a passive, or receptive role, instead of a more active, or interactive, mode. Early childhood education should tap into a child's natural curiosity. I think everyone, including frogs, learn best by doing. Learning should give them ample opportunity to become active in their own learning process. I think so, anyway. I mean, how much better to go outside and learn about bugs, or frogs, by actually seeing them rather than sitting in a classroom and simply looking at a picture! This isn't always possible, of course, but it it important to make learning about math and science fun and something the student really looks forward to.
Without more young people becoming excited about working in the sciences, technology, engineering, or mathematics as a career, we won't have enough trained professionals to meet the demands of our constantly changing and evolving world.
Encourage you school to do more with S.T.E.A.M./S.T.E.A.M. And if you're a parent, begin exploring this beautiful and fascinating world with your kiddo...the sooner the better.
It's never to early to make learning fun! Learning shouldn't be something we do for a few hours every day, and just at school. Learning is something we can, and should, do for a lifetime.