But what about maths and science?
You may wonder whether placing too much emphasis on life skills won’t allow enough time for subject-specific learning.
When you arrive at your child’s service, you see that the children are playing washing up. A good deal of playing with water and soap bubbles is going on. Are you wondering, “What is my child learning?” One of the tricks we use at Little Scientists is to look at everyday situations through different lenses along these lines:
Mathematics: What shape are the bubbles? Bubbles in a washing-up bowl are not usually round, especially if we blow into the mix with a straw. What is the most common shape you can spot?
Chemistry: What bubble mix works best for bubbles? What does washing-up liquid do – when making bubbles or when washing dishes? Why do we need washing-up liquid to get rid of oil?
Design and Technologies: How could we clean plates if we didn’t have access to water?
Engineering: How can we get the plates dry?
Optics: Why do bubbles have rainbow colours on the outside?
Air: Why do bubbles float and not sink?
There are endless STEM learning opportunities hiding just below the playful surface: Where do we hang the tea towel to get it dry? What floats and sinks? While the children are pouring water, they investigate capacity and volume. They can also observe Archimedes’ principle of water displacement when they put their hands and the plates in the water.
Your child’s educators know that all this is going on, they are there asking the questions, pointing out a phenomenon that the children may have missed. Your early childhood teachers are spotting learning opportunities and developing them, noting what the children have discovered, asking questions and extending on learning opportunities with fresh ideas and new things to investigate next time your child is at the service. It’s what they do and they do it well.
If you want to learn more about spotting STEM learning opportunities in everyday situations, you could watch this video or check out our book posts, where we give you some ideas how conversations about children’s books can turn into scientific explorations and research.
Use our book recommendations to help you spark a conversation that leads children to discover STEM in their everyday lives.
Child-led inquiry and spotting STEM in the everyday isn’t always easy in our busy everyday lives so we have created these resources for inspiration.
We showcase our favourite early STEM projects from our community of Little Scientists Houses and beyond.