Picking Up STEAM in Early Learners

Robin Page
Students in our Early Childhood program are at the perfect age to explore topics and skills of STEAM through play, and apply their learning to other content areas and into their everyday lives. The collaborative blend of learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math allows our three to five-year-olds to dig deeper into learning and foster their interests.  They are engaged in learning activities that require active thinking and experimenting to find out about how things work.

There are countless opportunities in science to explore the weather, living things, plants, and physical & chemical changes. Developmentally appropriate computer applications and games, along with media supplements, can enhance learning through technology. Problem solving, building, and discovering how things work, are applicable components of engineering. When creating art, students can draw, paint, design, and create. Numbers, patterns, shapes, and measurements provide limitless possibilities of learning math. These activities need to be a part of daily activities through centers, books, discussions, games, art, and most importantly, outdoor experiences.

Early childhood students need to get outdoors and collect, explore, and discover in nature. Identifying objects, comparing, predicting, testing ideas, and problem solving are activities that an active learner can participate in outside, which nurtures STEAM skills and concepts.  All of our early childhood classrooms just completed a unit on the lifecycle of a butterfly and ladybug.  The children watched the metamorphosis in excitement, created art projects of the lifecycles, predicted and graphed when they thought they would hatch, interacted with a lifecycle game on the Smart Table, and problem solved on where to release the butterflies and ladybugs around campus.  This thematic unit fostered our students’ curiosity and wonder, along with encouraged them to observe, hypothesize, and think critically, which are important foundational tools for early childhood-aged students. Activities outdoors can involve animals, plants, the weather, our school community, and more.

Participation in STEAM lessons makes connections across other disciplines and allows for play and investigation. They also encourage children to develop skills in taking initiative and being active and engaged.  The early childhood student should be at the center of the learning experience and enriching STEAM involvement meets this important goal. 
All Saints’ Episcopal School is a leading college preparatory day school in Fort Worth, Texas. Grounded in the Episcopal school tradition, All Saints’ offers programming of national distinction in the academic, fine art, athletic and spiritual disciplines, which brings to life our philosophy of promoting each student’s individual genius within.
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