How STEM and Montessori Work Together

Today’s parents know that an education that prepares their children for success in life involves much more than the 3Rs — reading, writing and arithmetic. These days, a few other things children need exposure to for academic success include studying tech and engineering, even the arts, commonly referred to as STEM or STEAM programs. And it’s pretty common for parents to wonder how Montessori techniques fits those needs.

At Redwood Montessori Nurseries, our skilled and caring teachers all about STEM and STEAM — and how to incorporate them into our daily studies. The truth is, Montessori has been consistently ahead of the curve in ensuring your son or daughter have the best education to set them up for lifelong success.

Discover how a Montessori education positions your child for success in every area of life. Here’s a closer look at how STEM studies and Montessori are a perfect match to prepare your child to love learning for a lifetime.

What is STEM and STEAM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The “A” in STEAM adds in Arts to the mix.

These concepts are the very backbone of the Montessori method. Like STEM, Montessori is more than just materials and presentations. It is a process and method of teaching and learning that gives students the tools with which to learn, while placing the responsibility and ownership of learning on the student.

STEM, like Montessori, is about doing. It’s about building and creating something that demonstrates the internalisation of scientific thought and content. It’s about solving real-world problems in a project-based, experiential learning environment. By emphasising educational experiences that tie concepts together, students develop skills valuable for future learning:

– Creative problem-solving
– Collaborative teamwork
– Experimentation
– Disciplined use of technology and more

Why does STEM matter for your child’s education?

More commonly referred to in the field as ‘Experimental Learning’, STEM is very hands-on, and skill based. STEM learning classes require students to do things with their hands to discover specific knowledge or to develop particular skills.
When taught at a young age, these skills will stay with these students for life, providing them with hands-on skills they can use throughout their education and subsequent career. For example, good STEM education can include getting involved with environmental sustainability, engineering or learning how to code.

Regular practice of arts like music and drawing encourage a host of abilities that set young children up for academic accomplishments and social graces alike:

– Using fingers and tools to draw and paint encourages fine motor skills.
– Creating unique art pieces encourages individuality and out-of-the-box thinking.
– Conceptual discoveries tie into math and science—such as learning about fractions.

These interactive, movement-based, exploratory ways of discovery are not just a trend. They are actually the basis of Maria Montessori’s approach. A child’s physical movement and active exploration of their environment is essential to helping them learn. The more they do this, the better they learn — which means they are positioned to understand the more complex areas of STEM at an earlier age. And this equips them to step into career paths later in life that feature STEM.

With teacher guidance, we help our students discover new areas of interest, such as STEM related activities.

Do STEM and Montessori really go together?

Of course! In fact, it’s a perfect match, and here’s why. Historically, education had often taken the approach that each subject is separate and can be taught by rote.

But children often learn best when they can explore, experiment, and bring concepts together. That’s a reality that Maria Montessori understood quite well, and it’s something we bring to our classes here at Redwood. Our teachers provide guidance to your child that invites the type of programming STEM/STEAM is known for:

– Opportunities for hands-on discovery
– Learning through experimentation
– Allowing for students to explore areas that draw their interest
– Bringing concepts together to create a more holistic academic experience
– Development of practical, real-world skills that move beyond rote learning

Ways that Montessori provides STEM experiences for your child

STEM learning begins in the Montessori environment early with the practical life activities. Working on these activities, children begin to see that work follows a sequence; it has a beginning, middle, and end. It is also intentional and directional; we move top to bottom and left to right. Practical life activities allow children to make judgments, such as knowing how much water to pour into a vessel before it overflows. They also encourage children to problem solve. If the water does spill, they know how to clean it up independently. In the practical life area, children learn a great deal about cause and effect.

In the sensorial area, young children use their senses to learn about and differentiate abstract mathematical and scientific principles. They learn about patterns, height, length, width, volume, weight, temperature, sound, tone, texture, smell, and taste. They also learn to classify, order, and name their discoveries.

In the math area, children begin laying the foundation for a strong understanding of patterns, sequence, numbers, numeration, and computation. They are able to perform all four operations using a variety of Montessori materials, including the Golden Bead Material. Children explore mathematics in small incremental steps, which leads them from concrete to abstract thought.

In culture and science, students explore the world around them. They explore and understand the differences between land and water forms, both simple and complex. They learn the basic anatomy of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. They explore the parts of plants, stems, roots, flowers, seeds and fruit, and they learn to appreciate the life cycle of all living things.

The possibilities are endless for incorporating STEM or STEAM into your child’s learning. With our teachers offering thoughtful guidance, Redwood Montessori Nurseries equip your child to do well in a technologically-savvy future.

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