STEM is a learning approach which stands for ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics’. At Little Hands, this approach is used to support a child centred play based teaching alongside the Early Years Foundation Stage.
Children who experience STEM activities and experiences at an early age, build a strong foundation for future learning. Children develop skills through observation, experimentation and investigation. The skills that children will be learning daily include problem solving and shared sustained thinking. There are many ways a child will learn through this approach, such as a child will develop within science by observing an insect in the garden.
At little hands, by creating an environment which enriches the curiosity approach ethos, we are supporting children to learn through STEM. Children have inviting materials and resources such as old laptops, phones, sand and water play and loose parts. These resources promote the development of skills such as investigation as children will be exploring how they work, how they can be used and if they may need to work together to sustain a conclusion or outcome to their plan!
In all rooms, children are able to mark make and use materials to create their own pieces of art or constructions. By providing this creative experience, children have the opportunity to develop their own ideas and thinking, making connections and reflecting on why something may not have worked or why it worked so well, learning through trial and error. Children will be using the process of predicting, observing, investigating, designing and planning.
Practitioners support children to build on ‘STEM thinking’ by using questions such as ‘will it roll fast or slow’ ‘will it sink?’ ‘will it float?’ to enhance the child’s knowledge and promote critical thinking.
Practitioners implement STEM into Preschool environments by carrying out exciting experiments such as mentos and coke explosions and the rainbow paper towel. These experiments are super fun and explore many areas of learning, whilst providing children with an inspiring way of teaching.
For more information on STEM in Early Years: