The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
STEM education is an interdisciplinary and applied approach to learning about these subject fields. STEM based play develops an early interest of these disciplines, preparing the students for future success from pre-kg to high school and beyond. Kids can have fun while developing important skills and learning about the world. STEM products are hands-on and encourage creativity, exploration, and experimentation to build an important foundation for growing up – They are full of new discoveries and exciting challenges!
Why is STEM so important
STEM plays a critical role in global economics, industry and the future of a child’s career and overall lifestyle of the child.
The STEM Education reports show that only 30 percent of children passing out from school are ready for college-level work in science. Reports of job postings for STEM occupations outnumbered unemployed people by 1.9 to one. Reversely, non-STEM unemployed people outnumbered job postings by 3.6 to one. Simply put, the opportunities in STEM related careers are vast and increasing whereas those individuals capable of filling them are declining.
The statistics in the job market show why it's important to foster an interest and aptitude in these subjects when the kids are still in elementary school.
In years to come there will be more jobs across the world that will require a college degree in STEM related areas. Yet, the number of students attracted to such degrees fall short of the anticipated demand. Girls are even less likely than boys to seek a degree that leads to STEM jobs. In fact, although women fill 50% of all jobs in western economy, they are not moving into engineering, math, technology, or science. They hold less that 25% of STEM jobs and it's no surprise that STEM jobs pay 33% more than the typical non-STEM jobs girls opt into.
What can one do to inspire enthusiasm for STEM learning with the children in our life?
At every stage and age, there are opportunities to enrich their understanding and use of math skills, by talking about what they are seeing and doing - Like looking for ways to make math and science relevant in real life. For school-age kids there is a need for more smart toys than the current more complex courses to understand physics or using math. These are toys that offer real challenges. They are not instantly ready…they have to be put together and require patience, stick-ability. These are the kinds of skills kids need to bring to the classroom and labs of the future.
Traditionally, most of construction and techie toys were brought home to the boys in the family. Recently, toymakers have discovered that girls actually love building sets. In fact, "girls construction" is one of the fastest growing areas in Toyland with almost every major player (including Barbie) vying for a piece of the puzzle.
What's also exciting is that there is a new crop of toymakers who are creating innovative products to appeal to girls and boys.