STEM education in Canada can be argued to be just as important today as it is in the USA, our close neighbour.
This is showing up in your child’s future with a push for the STEM subjects all around us; even toy makers have hopped on this trend – and we know they go where the money is. So make way, STEM is here to stay.
See related: Educational gifts for kids related to math and science
Here is how the push for STEM education in Canada could be shaping your child’s future as we speak:
Kids are being exposed to the STEM concept of learning in modern curriculums
STEM is an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Connecting the dots between subjects to make them more relevant and useful is not new. We’ve written about things like this before. For example:
- 4 ways in which going to the movies can be educational
- Focused learning: the history of tea and the science behind it
- 6 Science lessons using chickens as the common theme
- Focused science lesson: teaching kids about salmon controversies during the B.C. salmon run
When you were young, you may have remembered math as a totally separate subject from science. Engineering was probably barely touched on. And at most, you may have learned how to use a Mac computer to draw, or type up projects in those fun fonts.
Meanwhile, a strong emphasis may have been placed on developing your handwriting – remember when you were told to write your essays on paper before typing them up on the computer?
See related: Should kids still learn cursive writing?
Nowadays, it’s not just about learning how to use a computer, or learning these STEM subjects separately.
The whole learning concept of STEM is that these subjects are highly integrated, and directly relevant to our future as a society. Long gone are the days when kids could complain about math class being useless. And teachers don’t have to say, “math helps develop your brain” anymore either. Our modern economies need kids to learn this stuff, badly.
To produce a computer (not just use it), you need to know more than computer science. Computer science connects to math and engineering. And you can’t be great at making computers without understanding how they’re used, like for art (yes, even art needs STEM, and STEM needs art!). STEM is invasive.
Educators, along with parents, are realizing that STEM is important. And, the force of today’s tech culture is making kids aware of it too – although not enough, especially where diversity in STEM is concerned. Still, too few are pursuing the field.
Businesses, organizations and governments are investing in your child’s STEM future already
The Globe and Mail has reported the way in which corporations like Google, Microsoft and Cisco are investing in STEM programs. Sometimes these show up as after-school initiatives, since school curriculums may not be as up to date as the corporations need them to be for their future workforce. However, there are more. Best Buy has donated to help improve STEM learning at Canadian schools, for instance. Some companies work with organizations like Ladies Learning Code to help get STEM education out there.
The Federal Government of Canada has already invested in a program called BrainSTEM, to encourage the outreach of these subjects in schools and at conferences. Some provincial governments are also seeing the need to invest in STEM programs. The aforementioned Globe and Mail article states New Brunswick’s plan to improve STEM education in schools. Some of B.C.’s investments are outlined here.
However, in 2012, B.C. did cut back on funding that helped science volunteers visit schools to enhance STEM learning. The program continues, but as teachers themselves are not all equipped to put on these lessons, it shows a lack in resources.
Companies are also popping up to allow for STEM learning outside the classroom. One such company based in Vancouver is novoSTEM. And, non-profit organizations are also getting involved in the spread of STEM with B.C.’s new curriculum. For example, Science World and BC Hydro are some, in addition to teacher’s associations.
STEM is everywhere, and parents can help
While STEM is here to stay, it’s also obvious that fewer kids may be interested in pursuing it, given its perception of being ‘hard’ or ‘boring.’ However, that doesn’t need to be the case. As a parent, you can encourage your child to pursue STEM subjects. Whether it be through educational toys, registering for after-school programs, or merely being there to help with their homework, it all can help. Of course, as a tutoring company, we’ll also mention that a science or math tutor can help fill the gap if you feel your child is falling behind in STEM.
See our related articles for help on encouraging STEM in your child:
- Helping students choose careers through role-playing
- Inspiring kids with today’s popular scientists: who are they?
- 3 Reasons to teach kids about modern-day scientists and their relevance to modern life
- Get kids excited about math skills by showing them cool jobs that use it everyday
- How to teach kids about computer hardware
- How to get kids interested in engineering
- Why kids should learn how to code