Many families are interested in teaching their children skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This new focus on STEM education in our schools begins as young as preschool and continues through higher education. At the secondary education level, the desire is to educate and train children to obtain jobs in prestigious and high-earning career fields. Early childhood educators begin this process with young children by helping them learn to think scientifically. Teachers must help children learn how to problem-solve. Early childhood educators can not help children develop problem-solving skills by continuously giving them directions and having them follow step-by-step procedures. Parents and educators must find ways to encourage children to ask questions and to predict answers in order to create scientific thinkers. Parents and teachers can encourage preschoolers to use higher order thinking skills we these simple strategies:
These three strategies can make a huge impact on a child’s ability to problem-solve. Every preschool classroom should have a variety of science materials available to the children, but if the children are not trained to problem-solve, the scientific materials will not make a huge impact. Teaching a child to imagine, explore, and predict will have the greatest impact on creating future scientists!
Dr. Sarah Vanover has been working in the field of early childhood education for over 22 years and has had the opportunity to be a teacher, a director, and a trainer for other early childhood educators. She has a passion for making sure that children with special needs receive high-quality early care and education.