How Kindergarten Teachers Can Teach Girls to Love STEM
Young girls today are not encouraged to love STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and, as a result, many smart, creative students don’t pursue a career in these fields. The numbers are even lower for minority girls.
According to a study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, 5 percent of Asian women, 3.8 percent of Latina women, and 2.9 percent of Black women earn STEM degrees from a higher education institution (source).
These numbers show how women of color have been historically underrepresented in STEM-related career fields. The fight to get more women—particularly women of color—interested in these fields starts at an early age.
Suppose we start teaching the principles of science, engineering, technology, and math to girls as early as preschool. If committed to this cause, we may see a significant increase in the number of women pursuing STEM careers and activities.
Today’s preschool and kindergarten teachers have the powerful opportunity to encourage young girls to take on historically male-dominated fields and shift the dynamic of the workforce.
Here are a few ways you can encourage your students to love STEM:
Introduce Diverse Female STEM Figures to The Classroom
The Sponsor A Classroom program is the perfect solution to help preschool and kindergarten teachers promote diversity and inclusion in STEM in their early learning classrooms. Children internalize from a young age what girls and boys look and act like. The lack of female STEM representation surrounding them drives their understanding. When the STEM leaders’ girls are introduced to are limited to males, so are their beliefs as to what they can be successful at. Sign up to receive diverse female STEM leaders for your classroom today!
Create Fun, Personalized STEM Activities for Your Students
Making STEM fun is a great way to garner more participation. Monitor your students and create a curriculum that caters to their interests. For example, if you have girls who enjoy playing with building blocks, create an activity that allows them to have fun while learning the basic principles of building something from the ground up.
Invite Guest Speakers
Another way to encourage girls to pursue STEM is to show them role models who are doing cool things that interest young children. Invite female scientists to speak to the students about their job, share what they do in a day, and tell them about the cool projects they’ve worked on.
Read Books About Famous Female Scientists
During story time, pull out some books about women who made waves in the STEM field. Here are a few children’s books to consider:
- Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13by Helaine Becker
- Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America’s Pioneering Woman in Spaceby Tam O’Shaughnessy
- Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atomby Teresa Robeson and Rebecca Huang
As you teach, be careful to keep track of any hidden biases you may have toward women in STEM. Girls need to be encouraged that they can do anything they can put their minds to. Plus, young children can pick up on the cues you give, so foster an environment where they feel smart, capable, and encouraged.
Preschool and kindergarten teachers can receive 100% sponsored (FREE) STEM-inspired girl leader figures (dolls) for their classrooms by signing up through our website surprisepowerz.com! If you are an individual or organization interested in sponsoring a classroom, visit us today to make a contribution, even $5 makes a difference.