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STEM who knows what that is?

STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Get ready because this type of thinking is coming to preschool. Is it developmentally appropriate to teach a child to think in  mathematical terms?  Yes,  understanding and questioning is , in fact, the way children actually already learn. We as teachers/ parents need to reinforce their interests in building  magnet towers, pouring  into  containers, creating out of recycled materials and answering many,  many questions, about HOW things work.  Teaching creatively is building knowledge, it is discovering, analyzing, and observing.  How and why does a snowman melt? Why is a snow white when it floats down to the ground?  How DO snowflakes form? What is liquid , what is solid? Is a snowflake liquid or solid?

All these questions can be asked and  answers can be given.  The real foundation to know, is How do children build knowledge in these scientific and mathematical terms.

Science can be taught through curiosity and discovery. Problem solving  observing outcomes and making predictions. Easy, think planting seeds- watering, over watering, sun too much sun, too little sun-germination, plant growth, eating the products. Cooking with out outcome from the seed.   Mathematics can be taught from many simple processes of sorting, collecting, comparisons, quantity and cardiality. How much and how many, all children can tell you they want MORE candy than 1 piece. Do you want more? YES if you hold up 3 they will certainly understand the concept of more. Math can be built into everyday language.

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Engineering,  children can and do build upward and outward with balance- they understand these concepts very early. Spacial relationships, force, weight and balance, how about learning to ride a bike- you go fast enough, you stay upright. Gravity could be a hard lesson when you fall off the bike to the ground.

Technology my least favorite for the young child,- unfortunately this is our world. I don’t want creative thinking, problem solving and analyzing to be replaced by the processing of a machine.  There is a time and place for the child to build knowledge on the computer- but NOT until age 8. The creative brain is developing at a fast speed the first 5 years- then other types of reasoning begin to develop after that. I like to think the child’s own brain will learn to solve problems first.

Can we as teachers instigate the process for the child to think this way- developing number connections with quantities and visualizing of space?  What about reinforcing area , climbing  perimeters, force, range and speed?  Children do this everyday on a jungle gym or swing. Can we discuss with them, can we educate the process? The child’s learning extension is everyday living, we can enrich their learning in simple ways.  Be aware of mathematical enrichment.



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