As a parent or educator (or parent-educator), you’ve probably heard many times that learning basic STEM ideas is valuable for children of all ages. But why the emphasis on STEM’s importance as a part of any kid’s education? Does STEM really matter?

This is a big question with a simple answer: Yes, STEM is essential. However, you first need to know what STEM stands for.

The word “STEM” is an acronym created from the first letters of the key subjects science, technology, engineering and math. Only a couple generations ago, these subjects received less attention in many school curriculums. Today, though, STEM concepts are recognized as must-know topics for all modern learners.

Why the movement toward STEM now rather than 50 or 75 years ago? Below are some reasons why the education world has recently pushed for an increase in STEM learning.

Understanding STEM Helps Kids Thrive in a Tech-Heavy Environment

With the rise of the technical and digital age, kids need to have a basic appreciation and knowledge of STEM. Otherwise, they could get left behind by their peers as they move into occupations. Many current and future jobs are related to STEM subjects. Consequently, kids who study STEM core subjects in college or a vocational school can help minimize workforce skill gaps and keep our tech-savvy world moving forward.

STEM-Based Education Encourages Critical Thinking

The ability to think critically about lessons helps kids develop richer connections with subjects that can sometimes seem vague or theoretical, like math and science. Programs such as after-school clubs and interactive summer camps urge learners to get hands-on with STEM topics. In addition to practicing critical thinking, kids are also empowered to collaborate, use their imaginations and take the initiative. These are all wonderful attributes they can rely upon in other areas of life.

STEM Brings People of All Backgrounds Together

Are you looking for ways to bring together kids from all backgrounds and experiences? STEM offers a level playing field. All kids can participate in well-run experiments headed by passionate, encouraging teachers. Plus, many experiments that bring STEM subjects to life require little upfront investment from the families.

STEM Education for Kids Promotes Entrepreneurism

Companies typically start from a founder’s (or founders’) basic vision. Some of the world’s digital giants like Facebook and Google have entrepreneurial legacies. To ensure our society continues producing more generations of motivated self-starters, schools, parents and homeschool organizations will want to prioritize STEM education and truly understand the importance of STEM for kids. Getting involved in STEM at the elementary and middle school levels can open doors for true innovation, which may lead to the start of something much bigger down the road.

STEM Learning Reinforces the Idea of School as Exciting

Some kids think school can’t be enjoyable. Robust STEM education buoyed by exciting experiments and stimulating conversations shows young people that education isn’t always about grades, tests or homework. Instead, it’s about discovery. Making “Aha!” moments happen occurs regularly in STEM education. It’s a key reason why so many children fall in love with STEM teaching methods.

STEM Can Pave the Way for Increased Economic Stability

Financial insecurity is a real problem, especially in the 21st century. Yet, it doesn’t have to hurt Generation Z or the generations that follow. Young people who choose STEM majors in college can expect to earn significantly more than their peers who study other subjects. Consequently, being introduced to STEM education early may reduce economic disparities and societal wealth gaps.

STEM Helps Kids Make Connections Between Core Subjects

To many people, STEM is four separate subjects. Yet, the true power of STEM learning is that it combines all those subjects into a multi-disciplinary approach. Kids begin to see the connections between the various fields. For instance, STEM students start noticing how mathematics informs engineering, as well as how technology and science can go hand in hand. This ability to cross-pollinate ideas across subjects breaks down the antiquated notion that every topic is its own silo.

STEM Field Majors May Find College More Affordable

The cost of higher education is a huge concern for teens and their parents. Many colleges offer generous STEM scholarships and research grant options to applicants who have shown an interest in STEM fields. Therefore, starting kids on the path to enjoying learning about STEM subjects when they are in elementary or middle school may help reduce their cost of college later.

Give Your Kids a STEM Education! Of course, a STEM education for kids is more than just seriously important. It’s also seriously fun! Look for opportunities to connect the children in your life with activities concerning STEM subjects more often, such as our  interactive summer camps  and  after-school clubs .