• Kids Tinkering Studio Ltd

Is a STEM school for my child?

Watching a group of our preschoolers working on their garden project this week was rather interesting. It was fun looking at them play and discuss. However, it turns out they were learning more than you would think. We are convinced that very young children from all backgrounds, even children from birth learn important science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills and habits of mind from everyday play and early learning activities in our STEM rooms.

In our Preschool STEM program the children grow their own vegetables and they even build bridges and use blocks. They collect data, develop strategies, solve problems, and learn to adjust their approach when things do not go as they planned. These activities, when facilitated well, are not only laying a foundation for future STEM learning; we are allowing kids to be scientists.

Who knew that such young kids were capable of this kind of scientific inquiry? There are many common misconceptions about how young children engage in STEM learning and that is important, because our attitude about STEM learning influence children's own beliefs about STEM learning, as well as their abilities. This is why we created our STEM school here in Trinidad and Tobago.

I have heard many parents say they did not choose a STEM school because they think that it is for only for certain kinds of kids, those who are naturally gifted or driven in STEM subjects. STEM is important for all children and for all subject areas. Think of it this way: As we learn new skills, our brains weave skill strands into ropes we can use to solve problems, meet challenges, and, in turn, acquire new skills. Kids Tinkering Studio is a STEM school in Trinidad and Tobago where children have opportunities to collect evidence and solve scientific problems in our science labs; they build strong ropes that are used in many ways, both now and later in life.

I have asked several parents who came in for a tour of our facility these simple questions; have you noticed that your babies, only hours after birth, experiment with cause and effect as they realize that putting their own thumbs in their mouths makes them feel better? Toddlers push things such as your car keys off the edges of their high chairs repeatedly to test the limits of gravity; and preschoolers are eager to understand why the clouds move (life sciences).

In all our programs, Infant, Toddler and Preschool STEM programs we acknowledge the ties between STEM and language learning: We read and ask open ended questions. Exposing your child to Early STEM instruction results in higher language and literacy outcomes, and the reverse is true as well. For example, exposure to more spatial language during block play in infancy and early childhood increases children's spatial abilities when they are older. Even in the Toddler STEM program, the background knowledge about the world and how it works (much of which falls within the realm of STEM concepts) is critical for reading comprehension once the children move up into our Preschool program.

So parents, your child can make observations and predictions in our labs, carry out simple experiments and investigations with blocks in engineering, collect data in the garden, and begin to make sense of what they found all in the first few years of life! We truly believe that a STEM school will make all the difference in your young child’s education.

Call us today for more information and to schedule your tour of our modern and spacious facility!

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