Today I would like to ponder on the importance of STEAM. But not the kind of steam that fills your kitchen while boiling eggs. What I mean is:
These are the core subjects that a child should be introduced to as early as possible. These fields contribute to developing analytical thinking, bringing up creativity and thinking out of the box, and improving problem-solving skills.
A boiling pot releases steam, but scorching water vapour is not the point of this article. (Picture: Unsplash)
Babies and toddlers interact with the world and try out everything around them. This is how they learn about it. That is also why many things end up in their mouth. Trillions of neural connections–or synapses–are formed at that early age. The more often they are in use, the stronger that neural pathway becomes. After the age of three, a process called pruning starts taking place where redundant connections are removed. It is possible to form new connections in the future but not as easily as in a small child. Neural plasticity refers to the ability to form synapses. Something as simple as learning a new foreign word creates changes in their molecular structure.
Everything is curious to babies and toddlers – and for a good reason. (Picture: Unsplash)
Then we want as many connections as possible!
It is believed that the number of neural connections is genetically determined. However, stimulation through play and interaction with the world affects how many of these survive, i.e., the analogy that the brain needs to be exercised just like a muscle holds. A neuron in the frontal cortex may sustain as many as 10 000 connections. So let your child experience as much variety as possible: bright colours, different textures, music classes, art, science toys; raise them bilingual if either of the parents is a non-native English speaker. All of these are beneficial. Encourage them to explore their surroundings and ask questions.
Science and technology are what pushes the world forwards and brings breakthroughs in the evolution of humankind. (Picture: Unsplash)
Children have an innate curiosity that somehow vanishes at some stage. This is something I have been pondering about, yet I still don’t have an answer. Children want to know it all. They ask questions – sometimes way too many. Could it be that we, grown-ups, kill it? Do we try to raise a good girl or a good boy with excellent grades, conforming to all rules? Or is it forward-thinking that matters more? The fact is that humankind can evolve only through scientific and technological discoveries.
Training any skill is beneficial from an early age, even if it later gets abandoned. (Picture: Unsplash)
To what extent did you manage to preserve your curiosity? Do you ask yourself questions about how the world works? Let me know down in the comments.
(All webpages accessed in January 2022)
An edited and extended version of my original post at