While research has shown that preschoolers are capable STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students due to their natural sense of wonder and curiosity, educators must be aware of how to cater their teaching to best meet the needs of this age group.
To learn more, we invite you to read an excerpt from our free white paper, “The Benefits of STEM Education at the Preschool Level.”
Using Active Learning to Cultivate a Passion for STEM
The days of traditional mathematics and science learning are over. No longer can educators simply lecture or expect passive learning techniques to spark students’ interest. Instead, according to the recently released Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the best way to learn science, “is by doing science.”
This revised approach aligns with what researchers have been saying for over a decade: students who participate in active learning are more engaged, retain more information and have a more positive attitude toward what they’re learning.
For children in preschool whose attention spans are limited, engagement is one of the primary challenges teachers must overcome. According to the Center for Childhood Creativity, incorporating hands-on learning is an ideal way to maintain a high level of excitement and interest in these classrooms:
“Encouraging children to use their hands; count on their fingers; and move, build and tinker during learning experiences not only engages different neural networks relevant for problem solving (e.g., prefrontal and motor cortices), but also allows children to access and utilize conceptual understanding they cannot yet articulate.”
The importance of active learning for preschool-aged students was demonstrated in research published in Developmental Science that examined gesture training in preschool and school-aged students.
In the study, researchers monitored the different effects that observing versus producing gestures has on a child’s performance of a special transformation task – combining two halves of a shape to make a whole. The researchers found that 6-year-olds who were encouraged to act out the required motions with their hands were more successful than those who were asked to simply point at the completion of the shape.
Download Our Free White Paper!
To learn more about how to provide the best STEM education for these young learners, we invite you to download our free white paper “The Benefits of STEM Education at the Preschool Level.”