Blog Practical Strategies for Nannies to Foster STEM Learning (1)by Katie Brenneman

Literacy skills are often the focus when working with young children. However, it’s also important to foster creativity and innovation from a young age by helping children learn early STEM skills. 

Why Teaching Children STEM Matters

Teaching children to develop STEM skills provides children with essential skills that they need to grow up to become critical thinkers and ask important questions that can open their minds to new possibilities. 

It can also have a positive impact on our society. We need more innovators who are capable of solving the world’s biggest problems. As technology advances, for example, we will need young people who are capable of finding newer and better ways of using technology to respond to things like climate change and the need for greater accessibility. 

Eco-friendly tech, for example, will need to become more resilient and more accessible to address global warming. It will also become increasingly necessary for wearable tech to advance to propel healthcare forward.

Strategies for Nannies to Foster STEM Learning in the Home

As a nanny, there are many ways you can encourage and foster STEM learning in the children you care for. 

1. Encourage Scientific Curiosity

To boost diversity in STEM participation in school, it’s important for caregivers to encourage scientific curiosity at home among all children, no matter their gender or age. As a nanny, you can do this by encouraging curiosity and innovation wherever possible. 

Encourage them to notice things around them. Ask them questions to prompt them to think more about what they see. Get them to describe to you what they think about things, like nature or how things work. You can even invite them to do research and debate with you about certain things. 

2. Support Their Ideas

Children are naturally curious, but that curiosity can be squashed if you don’t support it. Even if what they are wondering about doesn’t make sense, it’s important to continue supporting and encouraging them to use their imagination to think, wonder, and explore. This is key to helping them develop creativity and vision, which are important skills to have when innovating in a STEM field. 

3. Read Them STEM-Related Books

Diversifying the books you read can also help foster their understanding of and interest in STEM topics. Read them books about the solar system, for example, or about geology or even chemistry. There are numerous books out there specifically written for young children to help them learn more about STEM subjects in a fun way. 

4. Help Them Think Outside the Box

When engaging in everyday activities, it’s important to train kids to think outside the box. This will teach them how to consider different ways to solve problems they are faced with, which is an important skill in STEM. To children, cleaning is often boring and tedious, for example, but encouraging them to change how they think about it and consider different ways they could tackle the task to make it easier can help them develop their problem-solving skills. 

5. Encourage Tinkering and Experimentation

Of course, STEM is also about actual exploration and experimentation, so creating avenues for kids to tinker and experiment is also important. Tinkering is often as simple as providing children with a space where they can play around with various materials, such as blocks, art supplies, tools, and even recycled or found materials like egg cartons and paper rolls. You can also plan out fun experiments with them, like making slime or growing crystals. 

Wrapping Up

On a final note, as a nanny, you might feel pressured to fill the children’s day with activities to keep them engaged. However, letting kids be bored is a great way to encourage creativity. When they are given a little more freedom, this is when their minds tend to wander, which is when they often develop their imagination and creative thinking. So don’t be afraid to let them sit and wonder for a bit to help them come up with their own ideas.

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