It’s no news that children need to be learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills early, but why is it important? We’ve rounded up eight reasons why we all should be nurturing your child’s interest in STEM subjects.
1. STEM LEARNING BUILDS THE SKILLS CHILDREN NEED FOR THE FUTURE
Did you know that there are already over 600,000 unfilled positions in the tech sector alone? As 65% of our children will be working in jobs that don’t even exist yet, that gap is going to grow. Getting your child into STEM subjects ensures that the next generation has all the tools they need to create and invent a better future!
2. STARTING EARLY IGNITES A LIFELONG LOVE OF EXPLORATION AND LEARNING
STEM teaches children so much about the world around them from how their favourite video games work, to the wonder of robots! There’s so much to learn and explore, both in digital learning and physical computing. We want to ignite that love for exploration and watch as our pupils learn about the world around them in a way that they understand and enjoy.
A generation of children in the 1980s learned programming and physical computing by spending hours programming their ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro and Commodore 64 computers. Sadly, children of today have not had that experience and do not know how much of the tech they interact with works. Our curriculum aims to reverse this trend through the introduction in years 3 and 4 of the BBC Micro:Bit and in years 5 and 6 learning to program the Raspberry Pi.
3. LEARNING THROUGH PLAY IS MORE FUN
Practical experiences are vital to any learning and even more so in computing. Our computing curriculum is carefully balanced to include not only programming and office skills (i.e. word processes, databases and slide presentations) but more importantly physical computing, manufacturing and digital design.
We don’t just want our pupils learning how things work, we want them building their own tech for example electronic whoopee cushions, their own wearable tech and even parent detectors!
4. STEM SUBJECTS NURTURE CREATIVITY AND SPARK IMAGINATIONS
When you encourage children to be makers of tech and not simply consumers of it, there is a whole new world of creative inspiration at their fingertips. They learn that there are so many creative and imaginative ways to reach a desired outcome, building creative problem-solving skills in the process. We will not only introduce pupils to programming their own games using Scratch but we will go one step further and teach them how they create their own 3D gaming universes using Blender and the sound track to these games using Sonic Pi.
5. JUMP START INNOVATIVE MINDS THROUGH INVENTION
In the 21st century, though innovation is very frequently praised, it’s not always fostered in younger generations. Not only do we want to encourage creativity, but we also want to create an environment where our pupils’ creativity can go from merely ideas to a reality! We want our pupils to be thinkers and innovators who can bring ideas to life, encourage them to learn how to code and work with physical computers. STEM gives children confidence that they can be designers, builders, creators and makers.
Using the Raspberry Pi Foundation Digital Making Curriculum at its core, the Abbots Hall Primary Computer Science curriculum is designed to encourage pupils to develop these skills building and programming their own creations!
6. LEARNING, BUT ON THEIR OWN TERMS
As teachers, we can often be prescriptive when it comes to what our children are learning. We can give children a million reasons why STEM subjects are beneficial for them, but at the end of the day, one of the biggest benefits is that through STEM they can solve their problems! By putting children in the driving seat of their learning and play experience, we allow them to think critically about their own ways to solve the problems they encounter.
By the end of year 6, it is our intent that pupils will have a working understanding of a range of coding languages including python and be able to build their tech through a mixture of design, manufacture and physical computing. They will understand how computing can be creative and use professional software to build their own 3D environments and make their own music through code. More importantly, they will move on to the next step of their education with a love of STEM and a starting point for greater things!
7. MAKE STEM LEARNING A FAMILY SPORT
STEM is for everyone: all genders, all ages, all abilities! With STEM-focused activities in school, we hope to create experiences for the whole family to get involved with and enjoy. All the software used within our curriculum is free to access online and the links below will give you access to these. There are also other great projects available from the Raspberry Pi organisation where you and your children can, together, build on from the learning at school!
Parents are able to purchase their child’s Micro:Bits and Raspberry Pi so that that the learning can continue at home! Getting this hands on with a tech is a great way to share what your child is learning in school, and maybe even learn a thing or two about circuits and making yourself.
We will also have for sale the components we are using in school (and others) for you to buy so you and your child can continue building at home. There are also links to the sites we source these components from if you and your child wish to take the next steps into the world of electronics and physical computing.
8. TECH (AND THE NEXT GENERATION) REALLY WILL SAVE US
We might be a little biased with this one given our core purpose, but we really believe that creative and empowered children will save us, and STEM will be at the heart of it all. There is so much to be invented and explored, and our pupils (your children) are the ones who will do this. This is why Abbots Hall is changing its curriculum to encompass learning, building and using hands-on technology. Who knows what the pupils (and maybe you) will create next?
It's not the end...
Keep on eye on this page for more updates as the year goes on...