STEM: nurturing young minds
You’ve probably heard that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills are important to jobs in the future. It might sound daunting, but there is good news: you don’t have to be a scientist to help your child develop these skills. Just follow these tips.
Like any subject area, having a positive attitude to STEM will make a big difference to your child’s learning. If you hear them say, ‘I’m no good at maths’, help them to remember the areas they have become good at—and praise the effort that helped them get there: ‘Do you remember how you worked hard on your times tables and mastered them? I’m sure you can do the same with division.’
Show the relevance
Maths and science are part of everyday life, so there are lots of ways you can draw connections between the classroom and home. Remember that kids love to achieve, and the more they can demonstrate their knowledge, the more motivated they are to learn: ‘You are so good at fractions now, why don’t you help me divide the leftover cake fairly.’
Your child can pick up a lot of STEM learning without even realising it. Do they love reading books about planets or volcanoes? Great, they’re connecting with science and technology. Do they create bridges or buildings using blocks in computer games or apps? Excellent, they’re using physics and engineering concepts. Do they watch TV programmes about animals, scientific myths, or space exploration? Fantastic, those are rich in STEM too.
There are lots of occupations (and pastimes) that require STEM skills and knowledge, including most of the fastest growing ones. Even in primary school, you can help your child see the connections. For example, when your child learns something new in science, talk to them about where that knowledge might be useful, or who might use it: ‘I wonder who needs to understand the water cycle in their job? What about farmers? Or weather forecasters?’