"4. Do science-related activities together. Regardless of your expertise in science, math or engineering or technology, participate in fun activities related to them with your kids.
"It's hard to actively encourage your children to pursue study in subjects that can feel overwhelming. But expose your girls to math and science at a young age, and make it fun and cool by doing experiments together. it's okay if you don't know how it will work out, that is what science is about - trial and error, learning from your mistakes, creating a new hypothesis, and doing it again until you succeed. Tell your kids that you are learning, too. Make it fun and very interactive." - Erin....
5. Provide opportunities for her to engage - on her own time. Making sure that girls get time to explore their interests by themselves is equally important - nearly all of the moms remembered spending time alone with science kits, a computer, or during a trip to Space Camp." (http://www.sproutling.com/parentage/rocket-science/)
These two pieces of advice represent the paradox that is teaching and learning. I imagine that #4 is especially intimidating for someone who does not feel confident in their own STEM prowess. But I'm here to tell you that doing STEM with your preschooler does not have to be a complicated or intimidating thing. Just start by making an observation. Keeping yourself open to new (to you) discoveries, I think, is enough for getting preschoolers well on their way to be comfortable with STEM. Of course, this is mainly because when a young child makes an observation or is introduced to something new by a loved one, they immediately follow it up with a question. The observation followed by the question is exactly the beginning of the scientific process!
|Pic courtesy Danielle Harlow, PhD., UCSB.|
|Fantastic crystals found last week in our neighborhood. I was surprised to discover that they were soft. When touched, they crumbled.|
So keep in mind that STEM learning does not have to include the academic rigor of rocket science. For preschoolers (and grown-ups) it can be as simple as valuing observation.