For the past few weeks I have been working with our partners to get ready for summer STEM/STEAM playgroups. Naturally, I am often asked, "So, what exactly is STEM?" and "What is STEAM? How is that different from STEM?"
STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. It becomes STEAM when we add the "A", for Arts. We group these areas together because they are intertwined in how we understand the world. It is a process and it is a way of thinking.
The other question I get is, "Really, for toddlers and Pre-K children?"
The answer is YES! Young children are natural scientists. Even the littlest babies are constantly exploring and experimenting.
Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.-Carl Sagan
Around age three children begin to develop science process skills such as the ability predict, observe, describe, categorize, generalize, and make connections that relate to prior and current experiments.
On top of all of that, STEM/STEAM experiences are fun and support learning for young children for so many reasons!
The STEM/STEAM classes are going to be a blast and I am really excited! Below you can learn more about what to expect by viewing the cute handout we are using to accompany our STEM/STEAM themed playgroups this summer. Each child will receive a copy of I Am A Scientist! as a leaflet for you to take home and explore. They will also receive a blank notebook & crayons so that together you can record their observations. Asking questions, talking about the world, and recording it (even if you do the recording) is a natural way to foster your child's language and literacy skills.
Lisa Cheney, CFCE Coordinator, Hamilton-Wenham RSD.