Preparing Your Child for a Career in STEM

Posted on October 28th, 2019 7:33pm
By: adrian

Preparing Your Child for a Career in STEM

In the dynamic, ever-changing economy of the twenty-first century, many parents are worried about whether or not they are adequately preparing their kids to succeed in the future. With young workers facing more pressure than ever before to develop the kind of advanced skills needed to compete in a world where automation is making entire industries obsolete, how can you make sure your kids are equipped to enter the economy when no one knows what the economy will look like in fifteen years?

While there is no sure-fire way to guarantee your child will sail smoothly from high school to college to a lucrative career, there are things you can do to give them better odds. One of the most practical is to hire math and science tutors in Toronto who can give them a strong grounding in the STEM subjects that are the foundation of the modern knowledge economy.

If you’ve never encountered the term before, STEM is an acronym used to refer to a cluster of subjects most students start studying in earnest once they reach high school. Conventionally, these are considered to be:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Math

But this can also extend to:

  • Logic
  • Statistics
  • Psychology

But it is also a teaching philosophy that views these subject areas through the prism of an integrated learning paradigm geared toward real-world applications like developing new products or finding new energy solutions.  

But what does a STEM approach to education look like in practical terms, and how can you give your children a chance to start developing their knowledge of this critical area of study early on? This article will provide an introduction to the STEM teaching philosophy, and provide you with some practical examples for how you can make STEM a part of your child’s education at the primary and secondary levels.

What is a STEM Approach to Education?

The acronym STEM was first coined in 2001 by a Judith Ramaley, an American biologist working for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The term quickly gained popularity over the course of the following decade as researches, scientists, and bureaucrats became concerned that children in the United States were falling behind their international competitors in these core areas of competency.

An emphasis on STEM education, therefore, grew out of a growing sense that these increasingly integrated fields played an essential role in preparing young people to compete in a globalized economy alongside countries in East Asia and Europe that had made significant investments in STEM education in their own countries.

For this reason, a STEM education isn’t just about science and formulas — it’s about prepare a equipping young people with a range of practical skills and the kind of broad knowledge base that will allow them to grow and adapt in a world where technology is evolving faster than ever before.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can get your kids started in STEM, read on to find out how to get them involved in this dynamic field during their primary and high school years.

Why STEM Education Should Start Early

Most discussions about the importance of STEM education focus on high school and university students. And while those are crucial periods in any person’s education, success in STEM-related subjects at the secondary level will only succeed if it has a solid educational foundation to build from.

This can pose a range of challenges to parents who want to be as far-sighted as possible about their children’s education options. Not many seven-year-olds have much of a sense for what kind of career they would like down the road, and the subjects they dislike most may well turn out to be the ones they rely on daily for the rest of their lives.

If you want to keep their options open later in life, you need to make sure they are developing their skills across the board, so that if they do fall in love with programming at the age of fifteen, they already have a knowledge base to work from.

But it isn’t just about knowing the math: STEM incorporates a lot of different ideas and branches of knowledge, and success in a STEM-related field means being able to digest and make sense of a lot of information. STEM education isn’t just about crunching numbers and memorizing facts: at its core, it is about creativity and critical thinking, learning how to interpret and apply data to solving real-world problems. 

One of the reasons STEM is such an important area of study in the twenty-first century is that the problem solving skills that are such an essential part of a STEM education are applicable to a wide range of different challenges students will face once they graduate from high school. Helping your child acquire the basic skills they need to excel in STEM will also set them up for success in a variety of other fields.  

For this reason, when considering the best way to approach STEM education you should also think about things like reading comprehension and creative problem solving. Hiring a reading tutor can actually be an important part of preparing an elementary school student for the kind of integrated learning they will need to master in secondary school and university.

How You Can Give Your Kids a Head Start in STEM

Clearly, a STEM education can be a huge benefit even for young children. But what can you as a parent do to help give your kids the opportunity to excel in this field? Aren’t you to some degree hostage to the classes, extra-curricular activities, and quality of teaching offered by your local school board?

While there are certainly limitations to how much control parents have over their children’s education opportunities, there are probably more options available to your children than you know. If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, there are lots of resources for parents who want to get their kids excited about science — and as people become more aware of the importance of a STEM education, there are even extra-curricular STEM-specific opportunities available to parents of young children.

After school activities can provide a vital chance for elementary and secondary students to expand their horizons and discover new passions, and it can also play an important role in helping your child get ahead in school by strengthening their working knowledge of things like astronomy, ecology, and algebra.

You should also, of course, double down on making sure your child is mastering their regular school curriculum. The primary years are critical in terms of developing basic literacy and numeracy skills, so don’t let your young ones fall behind in difficult classes like science and math. If they are struggling with challenging concepts, you should connect with a tutor near you who can help them excel in subjects related to STEM.

Tutoring doesn’t just give students the formal knowledge they need to pass tests and get good grades, it can play a vital role in growing students’ confidence and sense of curiosity about the world. And when you work with a professional tutoring company like Prep Academy Tutors, you can make sure that the tutor you are working with is fully qualified to help your child take the first steps down the road toward a career in STEM.

According a Forbes article published last year, the five most lucrative college majors are all in STEM fields. And while STEM can be a great path toward financial security, this isn’t the only — or even most important — reason to encourage your kids to enter this field.

At its core, STEM trains young people to understand how the world works, and how it can be made to work better for all of us. At a time when concerns about energy, climate change, and environmental degradation are of paramount importance, it is worth remembering that the technical solutions that will play an important role in helping humankind meet these challenges will come from people working in STEM-related fields.

Because it brings together so many different branches of knowledge, STEM requires and encourages a great deal of creativity, making careers in these areas not just lucrative, but also highly fulfilling. Inculcating in your children a sense of what is possible through reason, inquiry, and hard analytic work is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. 

If you want to inspire your children with a sense of wonder while also building a strong academic foundation they will benefit from for the rest of their lives, then giving them the tutoring support they need to thrive in science and math is one of the most immediate things you can do.

Get in touch with Prep Academy Tutors to find out how we can help you give your child a head start in STEM today.