STEM, short for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, is where the future will be. The good new? Your child can start learning all about it from as young as age five!
If the acronym STEM stumps you, it’s time to start learning about it. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – the four academic fields where experts say tomorrow’s (read: your children’s) future will lie. “The future of the economy is in STEM. That’s where the jobs of tomorrow will be,” says James Brown, Executive Director of STEM Education Coalition in Washington, D.C.
This is not a new concept here. In his speech at the opening of the SUTD East Coast Campus two years ago, PM Lee shared that the last 50 years has seen a STEM foundation being built in Singapore. “Looking ahead, we will need strong STEM capabilities to continue to upgrade our economy, and to become a modern, forward looking and technologically advanced society,” he added.
Zhu Bao Jin, founder of Thinker Tinkers, agrees. Her four-year-old daughter has had formal STEM Education since she was three. At kindergarten, she attends a 45-minute STEM lesson in the morning and an extra 90-minute STEM enrichment lesson in the afternoon every week.
Bao Jin believes that early STEM education has helped her daughter acquire an an understanding of the world beyond her age. She can also retain and apply what she has learnt. “After learning about horizontal, vertical and projectile motion, she was able to share that the wipers on the car move in a projectile motion when the wipers are activated,” Bao Jin said. “She also shows a greater interest in the world around her and tinkers with recyclable materials at home.”
Still not convinced? Here are four reasons why your child should be learning STEM now:
1. STEM Education equips your child with the most powerful skill for success in the world – the ability to create
Regardless of good or bad times, the power to create something from nothing will literally guarantee the success of our children in the future. With the ability to create, our children will live in a state of abundance, and not with a poverty mindset. Indeed, kids will learn that even flimsy newspapers can create a stool strong enough to support a person’s weight! Such experiences will build a strong foundation to nurture them to become creative problem solvers of tomorrow.
2. Children pick up valuable life lessons through STEM
STEM Education actively creates learning opportunities for children to experiment. As experiments do not always work, success is not determined by the end result, but rather in the doing. Also, failure is not final. Instead, it is simply about finding out ways that do not work. As Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, said, “Nothing ever turns out as planned… ever. And the kids soon learn that all projects go awry, and become at ease with the idea that every step in a project is a step closer to sweet success, or gleeful calamity.”
Take a toy ball launcher made of a toilet roll and a balloon. As children explore how different materials can improve its design, they discover that some materials are better than others as firing mechanisms. Teachers then encourage the children to look for another alternatives. Eventually kids may find that a rubber band is an excellent replacement, and that it can also eliminate the loud noise caused when firing with a balloon.
3. STEM goes beyond theories, encouraging application with awareness
One of the biggest challenges in education today is that our children are studying without understanding why they are learning the subject matter. STEM Education gives children the opportunity to see a connection between learning and real world applications.
In Thinker Tinkers, kids learn to focus on the “why”, and then work on the “what” and “how” of things. For example, the children first observe rain droplets formed on the windscreen before learning that surface tension is the reason behind it and hence, understanding the need for wipers to clear the windscreen and improve visibility for the drivers.
4. STEM Education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators
Innovation leads to new products and processes that sustain our economy. Hence it is never too early for a child to start learning it. In fact, the National Science Board (NSB) in the United States encourages the introduction of STEM into pre-school education. This idea is supported by many business groups that worry about the workforce of tomorrow.
Hence Thinker Tinkers is set up to introduce STEM Education to preschoolers and to generate interest in STEM early. The aim is simple: to equip children with the critical competencies and dispositions to succeed in a knowledge-based economy. Ready for your child to try?
SingaporeMotherhood.com is giving away three parent-child passes (worth $320 each) to Thinker Tinker’s September holiday STEM programmes for children aged five to seven years old.
When 4-8 September 2017
Where 46 East Coast Road, #01-03, East Gate, Singapore 428766
Besides participating in hands-on and minds-on activities and experiments, your child will have lots of fun making a balloon-powered car and a matchbox car to explain the concepts about speed and friction!
Here’s how to win a parent-child pass to Thinker Tinker’s September holiday STEM programme and gain a 21st century skill-set:
- Like and share this article on Facebook
- Tag a friend whose child may also be interested
- We’ll get in touch with you if you’re one of the winners
All the best!
Closing date: 12 noon on Thursday 24 August 2017