PODCAST – STEAM

PODCAST – STEAM


STEAM is a concept that has become increasingly
popular lately and has even become a buzzword in early childhood. It started as STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering,
and Math. STEAM embeds the Arts into these concepts. Adding the Arts into the STEM process is a
natural process in early childhood. The purpose of STEAM is how these skills are
integrated with one another instead of looking at each skill in isolation from the others. When children are young, they have not developed
the habit of separating subjects into categories; they naturally blend these concepts as they
explore their everyday environments. When we look at early childhood, this is an
optimal time to capitalize on helping children build these skills. Science includes observing and experimenting
with materials; asking questions and working to find the answers; making predictions about
what might happen and then seeing what really happens by testing our experiments; and then
sharing what you have learned with others; as well as figuring out how things work. Technology looks at using tools to help get
things done. Often when we hear the term technology, we
think of computers, phones, or tablets. Technology is just a fancy term for tools. In early childhood, we see children use technology
all the time, such as: scissors to cut; pencils to write; rulers to measure; and magnifying
glasses to look closely at an object. Engineering is how we solve problems by using
a variety of materials; designing and creating solutions; and building things that work. The Arts are a way of expressing and representing
what we know. Children may draw, sing, dance, or even act
out what they have learned about a concept or represent what they are trying to figure
out. Math includes many concepts such as counting,
measuring, comparing, sorting, working with patterns, and sequencing. Children naturally engage in math concepts
every day! When we look at math, there is a wonderful
opportunity to engage in mathematical language which helps children to express what they
know and have learned. Let�s take a look at what this might look
like in an early childhood classroom� When children build in the block area, they
are working on their engineering skills. They are planning and trying different strategies
to make a creation, which uses trial and error and this is a science concept. Even when children are just exploring the
blocks by piling them up, putting them in a line, they are figuring out how to make
the blocks work. Children also explore to see which blocks
fit together, which is a math concept when we explore how shapes work. We can embed the arts, by encouraging the
children to plan and sketch what they would like their structure to look like before building
or after building their creations. And, of course, the blocks are the tools or
technology that the children are using to create their structure. This is just one example that integrates all
areas of STEAM. Often, when children are engaging in activities,
when we leave the activities open ended, they engage in 2-3 of the STEAM concepts at a time. The children in our care right now, need to
develop skills for jobs that are not even created yet. By providing opportunities for children to
develop their creative thinking and reasoning skills now, we are providing them with skills
that they will need for the future.

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