Encouraging STEM Education in Little Learners


Encouraging STEM Education in Little Learners

STEM in preschool and VPK

Children are born to explore the world around them. Before they can speak, babies begin using their senses to learn about their environment.

Research shows that the brain develops the most between birth and five years old. Young children are usually eager to learn, create, and explore during this time–and providing plenty of opportunities is important.

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are important ways of learning about the world. Introducing STEM in preschool is essential so kids get a solid foundation to build upon later.

In this article, we’ll explore why it’s important to encourage STEM in VPK and preschool programs. You’ll also learn how to bring STEM subjects into an early learning classroom and where to find a STEM-focused learning center near you.

Reach out to the team at Little Sunshine Preschool now to learn about the STEM experiences we provide. You can also explore our programs or schedule a tour of our incredible center.

What is STEM?

Stem stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Many people imagine teaching STEM concepts to a classroom full of 3, 4, and 5-year-olds might be impossible. However, many STEM activities are perfect for little learners.

STEM learning has been in the news in recent years–for good reason. Research shows that early STEM learning can have a big impact on children’s outcomes in school for years to come.

STEM learning experiences in a preschool or VPK setting are unlike elementary or high school lesson plans. Instead, teachers focus on incorporating STEM activities that are developmentally appropriate for little learners.

STEM in Preschool Classrooms

Research shows that children who learn about math and science before starting kindergarten often have better outcomes in elementary school. Children who have a foundation of knowledge about these concepts may be able to understand them better as they go through school.

Focusing on STEM can also improve a child’s problem-solving skills. Better problem-solving can mean better performance in many areas of school–and life.

Learning about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in VPK or preschool doesn’t look like it does in high school or college. Instead, early childhood educators use hands-on activities and real-world educational opportunities.

Here are some examples of STEM activities in a preschool or VPK setting.

Preschool science activities

  • Using a rain gauge to measure rainfall for a month
  • Using kites, windsocks, or other objects to “see” wind in action
  • Making a baking soda and vinegar volcano
  • Weighing or measuring classroom objects
  • Guessing what will sink or float in water
  • Making butter in a jar

Preschool technology activities

  • Building with blocks
  • Simple coding activities
  • Making circuits
  • Taking apart a simple appliance to see how it works

Preschool engineering activities

  • Build a balloon-powered car
  • Create a marble run from cardboard tubes
  • Use a pulley to lift heavy objects
  • Fold a paper airplane
  • Build a simple catapult to launch marshmallows or cotton balls

Preschool math activities

  • Number match games
  • Dice games
  • Dominoes
  • Building patterns with beads or blocks
  • Shape scavenger hunts
  • Using charts to track students’ favorite ice cream flavor, pet, eye color, etc.

As you can see, preschool STEM learning is anything but boring. Kids who participate in hands-on learning are more excited and engaged with what they’re learning. They’re more likely to remember what they’ve learned, meaning they’ll be ready to build on that knowledge in kindergarten and beyond.

The Benefits of STEM in VPK

Incorporating STEM in VPK and preschool programs is very important. Kids benefit from real-world learning opportunities related to science, technology, engineering, and math.

Here are some of the most important benefits of STEM for little learners.

Critical thinking skills

Kids need good critical thinking skills to succeed during elementary and high school. Good problem-solving and critical thinking skills are also essential when addressing complex issues. People with strong critical thinking skills can find better solutions to complex problems.

Better communication

STEM learning can help young children develop their communication skills. They build their vocabularies and learn how to express complex ideas.

Preschool STEM activities encourage children to interact with each other. They ask and answer questions. They learn to consider others’ opinions. This can improve their communication skills in a way that will benefit them for life.

A love of learning

Hands-on STEM activities are very engaging. Children learn about the world around them through their senses. They get to make guesses and test ideas.

This kind of education can help children develop a lifelong love of learning. Children who love learning are more likely to be engaged students and community members.

Explore Our Learning Programs

At Little Sunshine Preschool, STEM education is an essential–and fun–part of our preschool and VPK programs. Contact our team of dedicated early childhood educators to explore our programs. You may schedule a tour, ask questions, or learn about the application process.

We look forward to meeting you and your child.

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