What is STEM?

It’s never too early to start developing sought-after skills in science, technology, engineering and maths and with recent government announcements to improve STEM education and fill skills shortages within the economy; we’re taking a look at how you can develop your little one’s skills to ignite their curiosity through hands on play!

STEM learning takes an integrated approach and shows children how elements of each subject apply to others – and to real world scenarios. This growing movement in education might have originated in the US, but we’re well bought into its accolades and far-reaching benefits. STEM education is based on blended learning that sees traditional classroom teaching implemented alongside hands-on activities that give children the chance to explore different ways of problem solving.

And these skills have never been more in demand. The UK’s STEM businesses have warned of a growing shortage as they struggle to find qualified employees in each of the sectors. It’s a shortage that, according to STEM Learning, is costing businesses £1.5 billion a year. There’s much debate around why this shortage exists. One theory is that young people worry that STEM subjects are too challenging and so opt for an alternative career path. As businesses work together to combat the issue, we can do our bit spark an early interest in the subjects and drum up excitement for learning.

STEM for toddlers and pre-schoolers

You’d be forgiven for wondering how all this applies to smaller children who aren’t even in primary education yet. But the truth is, pre-schoolers’ curious and inquisitive minds are ripe for this type of learning – they were born little scientists. They’re always learning, exploring and discovering, but to them, it’s simply fun. In fact, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that children benefit by developing STEM skills like computer programming or building from a young age.

As parents and educators, we can nurture their learning through exciting hands-on experiences, giving them a head start in early education and helping build their passion for science and technology.

Science, technology, engineering and maths learning can be fun and engaging whatever the age. Don’t just take our word for it, though. See for yourself. We’ve developed a whole range of STEM-based toys to ignite their curiosity and encourage engaging, interactive play. Head over to STEM Jr to find out more.

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