STEAM, (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) is important because these five areas are part of our everyday activities and lives. Facility in these areas helps us solve problems, teaches us how to be creative and analytical, and teaches adults and children alike how to work through everyday challenges. According to the US Department of Commerce, STEAM occupations are will continue to experience a rate of growth nearly double that of occupations within non-STEAM sectors.
STEAM instruction in early education need not be formal. It is not about flashcards or overt instruction, but rather, STEAM instruction is about the things that children do daily. STEAM education can be as simple as pointing out why and how things happen in our everyday lives. Why does something fall? Why does something breaks? Why do two colors make another color? Children practice STEAM activities naturally. They build forts out of cushions, they pour sand from one container to another, they mix paints, they build towers with blocks. Through this play, children learn about the world around them and build their own theories.
Recently, STEAM has become STREAM to give recognition to the importance of reading and writing. Literacy is an important aspect of the curriculum, as it too requires critical thinking and creativity. Reading and writing are prerequisites to learning science, technology, engineering, art, and math.