STEM is an acronym for learning about four specific areas of curriculum – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These four disciplines are integrated in our everyday lives and many important jobs. STEM learning usually incorporates activities that encourage knowledge of everyday problem solving and critical thinking. Recent initiatives however have been made to change STEM to STEAM to include the art and design discipline as well to promote the creative aspect of these disciplines as well.
STEM/STEAM learning is very important because these five disciplines are used in everyday activities. They promote problem solving, and creative and analytical thinking. Many of the jobs that effect our economy include STEAM subjects. Accounting, architecture, medical research, and environmental studies all involve science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations have grown in the last ten years three times faster than non-STEM occupations and STEAM occupations are expected to grow by 10% from now until 2020. Non-STEAM occupations only grow at a national average of 5-8%.
For this reason, among others, it is never too early to begin introducing STEAM learning to your child. Each discipline of STEAM helps your child grow and navigate through everyday challenges.