Preparing your child for the next step in education is an important responsibility. Part of this involves ensuring that your kid learns in a way that stimulates their critical thinking, observation, and communication skills.
With that said, maybe you’ve considered enrolling your child in a STEAM preschool. But what is it and how is it different from other learning approaches? Read on to know more about the STEAM curriculum and its benefits.
What is a STEAM curriculum?
The idea behind a STEAM education is to spark love for the arts and sciences at an early age. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math. This unique approach means your kids don’t have to just be analytical or creative — they can be both.
Don’t be intimidated by the seemingly difficult subjects it includes, though. After all, a STEAM education ensures that these subjects are taught in a kid-friendly way. As a result, preschoolers can continue to enjoy playtime while learning essential knowledge and skills.
The STEAM method of teaching encourages children to ask questions to spark discussions. At a young age, students can foster their natural sense of curiosity for the world around them. They’ll also feel comfortable sharing their own thoughts which can help improve their social skills.
A successful STEAM setting provides a safe environment where young children can explore their senses. For example, your child may be asked to describe the texture or scent of an object. This type of learning cultivates your kid’s natural curiosity by letting them play, observe, and create. In fact, preschoolers have free reign to explore and learn in their own way.
How does the STEAM curriculum differ from the traditional education system?
In the traditional education system, students play a passive role when learning. After all, they just end up absorbing what’s taught to them by their teachers.
This method promotes passive learning. As a result, toddlers and preschoolers may not have a chance to fully develop their critical thinking skills. It could also limit the boundless potential of a child’s natural curiosity.
Alternatively, a STEAM classroom setting encourages students to be curious at all times. It focuses on practice rather than theory, enabling children to translate thoughts into words. It also emphasizes creation instead of replication. This way, toddlers can simply let their creative juices flow.
Moreover, STEAM can also help cultivate your child’s independence. This learning style will train your kids to perform some tasks independently to develop their confidence. For instance, completing a simple puzzle may feel daunting for some kids, but toddlers encouraged to think independently may tend to enjoy these activities a bit more.
What are some examples of STEAM curriculum integration?
Sensory questions can foster inquisitive thinking, even at a young age. By encouraging your children to explore the world outside, they can be trained to use their senses and hone their observation skills.
Put simply, kids can more easily describe what they feel, hear, see, and smell. This means your children will be more attuned to their surroundings and themselves. Teachers can also get creative by using different-sized household products to illustrate concepts such as gravity and weight.
Kids won’t be receptive to learning new things if they’re bombarded with complex concepts right away. The STEAM approach takes things slow because it involves simple demonstrations that show kids how technology works.
Here’s an example: a teacher may place different objects in front of a fan then ask your kid which one would fly the farthest due to the fan’s wind power.
Engineering for kids and toddlers involves building and creating. Teachers can guide children in using wooden blocks, plastic cups, cardboard to construct castles, roads, houses, and other structures.
Going through this process allows children to create 3D representations of their thoughts. And this promotes creative thinking and problem-solving skills.
One of the most important areas of the STEAM curriculum is art. In traditional preschools, art is often swept aside but the STEAM curriculum places great emphasis on artistic expression in toddlers and children.
But how does STEAM help foster artistic expressions? Tutors can guide kids in using musical instruments, for example. Moreover, teachers allow children to use different materials, such as paint, markers, crayons, and colored pencils to create art.
The STEAM curriculum provides an exciting way for children to learn about numbers. And even though math can be a somewhat difficult subject, your kids will learn the fun way so they can develop a positive attitude toward critical thinking and problem solving.
Kids can learn numbers by counting toys and different objects. Tutors can also show items with different shapes to prepare children for basic math concepts like addition and subtraction.
What are the benefits of STEAM education?
At a young age, toddlers can already develop creative thinking skills in a nurturing environment. A STEAM education promotes meaningful learning that allows children to think outside the box. Helping them see things from a new perspective will be useful later when they enter elementary school and participate in extracurricular activities.
Moreover, the STEAM curriculum enables children to use objects in different ways. For instance, teachers may ask kids to create cars using modeling clay or cardboard. This activity teaches children how to build items from scratch and lets them experiment and let their imagination run wild.
Encourages critical thinking
A STEAM education prevents passive learning since it encourages your kids to analyze, compare, and contrast. More than simply memorizing details, a toddler taught under the STEAM process can process information better to be more creative. That’s why STEAM teachers urge children to ask questions — especially open-ended ones — that encourage discussions.
Since STEAM lets children learn and explore, it’s best if they’re left to their own devices. So make sure you don’t intervene while they’re building objects or sharing their ideas. Letting them learn on their own terms can help quench their thirst for knowledge.
Even though kids enrolled in a school with a STEAM curriculum learn independently, they also play and interact with peers. Learning alongside other kids facilitates meaningful learning and interactions. After all, it could help them feel comfortable and make new friends. Spending time with peers can also keep feelings of anxiety and distress at bay when they start formal schooling.
Kids will be constantly interacting during classroom activities. For example, teachers can instruct kids to build a tower made from wooden blocks, cardboard, or other materials. This team-building activity incorporates engineering concepts while promoting healthy competition among children. It also fosters creativity since children need to come up with unique designs.
Improves communication skills
Experimenting and playing with peers can also help develop a child’s communication skills. For instance, an activity that involves using various objects can teach them new words and phrases. Enriching their vocabulary will come in handy especially when kids are asked to share their thoughts.
Better communication skills enables parents to understand their kids better and develop a closer relationship with them. Additionally, toddlers who learn from the STEAM approach will feel more comfortable having conversations with different types of people.
Did you know that getting asked questions can also improve your child’s self-esteem? Expressing oneself helps instill confidence in your child. Even this simple exercise of self-expression can help your kid overcome their fear of new challenges. It could even give them the courage to try out unfamiliar activities.
Moreover, toddlers with strong self-esteem have the ability to accept failures with a smile on their face. A STEAM approach to education encourages kids not to give up if they fail the first time. And this can help teach them the value of patience, determination, and grit.
Children who learn by the STEAM approach can explore a wide range of hobbies and interests. At a young age, they can try out new activities and find out if they have a hidden talent up their sleeve. For instance, playing musical instruments at an early age can cultivate one’s passion for music.
And since the STEAM approach helps cultivate a kid’s creativity, they can even explore the art field later on in life if it interests them. It doesn’t stop there either: listening to different genres of music and watching diverse performances can help open their eyes and recognize their own strengths and weaknesses.
What is the importance of STEAM education in early childhood learning?
STEAM education is very much different from the traditional education system. After all, it focuses on active learning so your child can think creatively and independently. Since it involves a lot of hands-on activities, it sparks discovery.
If you haven’t enrolled your child in a STEAM preschool, now is the time to try. The STEAM curriculum will allow your kid to naturally discover their interests and build confidence. Take advantage of your child’s thirst for knowledge by introducing them to a STEAM education.
Enroll Your Child at Rayito de Sol
Rayito de Sol is a Spanish immersion early learning center that follows a STEAM approach. Our programs are nationally accredited by NAEYC so you can rest assured that your child is receiving the best quality education. Sign up to our programs today.