S.T.E.M. Education for Your Tiny Tot
By Hannah Mattner; Ocean Institute intern
When it comes to education, we not only want to see our children succeed but thrive. Leading researchers and experts in education have found that raising students with an understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (S.T.E.M.) concepts helps them to do so. Despite the short acronym behind its name, S.T.E.M. is an incredible tool to build upon in children’s education. This form of learning breaks kids out of the mold that the typical classroom setting puts them in and calls upon both educators and parents to allow children to hone their skills in a variety of settings and contexts. The great news is it’s never too early to begin S.T.E.M. education, and the perfect way to do so is by tying it in with nature.
At the Ocean Institute, there is a program that does just that! Tiny Tots is a 6-hour “parent and me” program for children between 2 and 3 years old. The program runs once a quarter and consists of six individual hour-long sessions offered over the course of six weeks. Each session focuses on a different theme with the goal of teaching early S.T.E.M. concepts at an age-appropriate level, all the while introducing them to the ocean and its animals.
In these sessions, kids learn S.T.E.M. concepts like numeracy, geometry, cause and effect, classification, and problem-solving through exploring colors, textures, and shapes using tidepool animals, or by engaging in free play, waterplay, and exploration. By tapping into their natural curiosity, Tiny Tots allows children to develop these skills in S.T.E.M. education before they even get to pre-school. Through this program, the Ocean Institute hopes to continue encouraging the exploration of curiosity in young minds and grow a passion for the ocean by exposing them to ideas they might not otherwise get to see.
The next Tiny Tots session begins on February 6th, and runs through March 13th. We can’t wait to explore with you!