All Aboard the "STEAM" Locomotive
What does STEAM education look like in early childhood? STEAM stands for (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics). However, STEAM education in early childhood needs an additional subject added to promote student success. Reading is the key to success. How you might ask? Many times early childhood students do not have the ability to understand these strange concepts. Children must have prior knowledge in each subject area to eliminate confusion. According to Piaget (1978), when we are faced with something new that we have never experienced before, we experience surprise, confusion, or contradiction that disturbs, if even mildly, our inner state of equilibrium.
We as educators need to invest in great literature that supports STEAM education. The market is finally realizing this and authors are stepping up to answer the call. Here is a list of authors that have written books on STEAM subject matter that would be perfect for your STEAM library.
My First Book of Planets: All About Solar Systems for Kids By Bruce Betts
Shelbo's Adventures in Science: Natural Light nd Man-made Light by Michelle Dean
Baby University Complete "ABC's" Board Book Set by Chris Ferrie
Shelbo's Adventures in Technology: A Trip to the Dentist by Michelle Dean
Flash Light Night by Elisabeth Hasselbeck
Flashlight by Lizi Boyd
ABC's of Engineering The Essential Board Book of First Engineering for Kids by Chris Ferrie
Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty
Andrew Learns about Engineers: Career Book for Kids by Tiffany Obeng
Never Let a Princess Paint with Her Unicorn by Diane Alber
I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison
The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds
123 Count with Me by Georgie Birkett
8 Little Planets: A Solar System Book for Kids by Chris Ferrie
I Spy And Count The Airplanes Book For Kids by Monica Mirabelle Williams
Once you have chosen your STEAM books, you can design your curiosity cube with at least 4 props to represent the illustrations within the book that you have chosen. This is to introduce the book cover and to prop students to ask questions. Allow the children to ask questions daily during large or small group. You may want to write these on chart paper to recall later. I normally keep the book inside the curiosity cube for a month. Each day the children will be encourage to ask one question to add to our chart paper. You may want to allow the students to hold one prop per week to keep the questions coming and to build their excitement about the book incased inside the curiosity cube.
At the end of the month, read the story to the children. Remind them of the questions that they asked and have them answer their own questions. This will enhance their reading comprehension of the text. Once you have explored the story and props, keep the comprehension going by creating reading Scavenger Hunts for the book that you are studying. These can be so much fun to create.
Encourage your students to share their thoughts on the books that you choose. Build your lessons around their interest. This will ensure that they stay excited about the texts that they are learning about. You are a "star" in their eyes. Help them to reach for the stars through an amazing STEAM classroom filled with new experiences. Our future depends on it!
Piaget, J. (1973). To understand is to invent: The future of education. New York, NY: Grossman