Recently, the IWD 2021 Campaign spread around on social media to challenge stereotypes and call out gender bias. Individuals and organizations are invited to act on the campaign with #ChooseToChallenge pose to commit to choosing to challenge gender inequality.
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spoke to several inspirational female business leaders about what more need to be achieved to improve gender equality in the workforce on International Women’s Day.
It’s exciting that the world has taken concrete actions to bring gender balance to the STEM workforce.
To close the gender gap, the key is to encourage more young girls to choose a STEM degree and career after graduation, as mentioned in our earlier articles. To put it another way, nurturing our young girls’ interests in STEM curriculum in early childhood is the primary step to this approach.
To forge an inclusive world, parents, schools, communities, female role models, and individuals should work together to provide a better STEM learning environment for our young girls.
1. What pre-schools can do to inspire girls in STEM learning?
Pre-school is a curriculum-based early childhood education program aiming to support kids to develop their fundamental skills and cognitive abilities. It has made a significant impact on cultivating kids’ interests in multiple areas through curriculum-guided plays. Kids start to gain some reading skills, pre-math skills, and basic physics skills. In pre-school, our kids have a stronger desire to learn and explore, driven by their natural curiosities.
- Bring STEM-related toys to classes
The way that our pre-school teachers approach our kids will profoundly influence their thinking and perception of the STEM curriculum. Showing gender equality in class is essential.
For example, teachers should always:
- give all the boys and girls an equal chance to answer the questions you raise in STEM class.
- make sure every student has equal access to all resources and digital devices.
Besides, it’s necessary to include some interactive games into classes and encourage girls to work in the team with the boys, such as:
- Geometrical patterns sorting and matching.
- Building blocks.
- Introduce STEM female role models within the school community
Our pre-school boys and girls start to understand they and their family are part of the school community. The school community reflects its culture and value and helps strengthen relationships between students and teachers. The school community has a great impact on students’ behaviors and attitudes towards learning.
Getting to engage with STEM girls and women role models represents schools’ initiatives in STEM education.
- It shows to the boys and girls that women always have a role to play in the STEM workplace in the future.
- It supports girls to be confident of chasing what they are interested in.
2. What can parents do to motivate pre-school girls in STEM learning?
Parent plays a significant role to educate their young boys and girls. Pre-school boys and girls are still young to think independently. What parents say and do will impact their thinking, values, visions, and behaviors no matter good or bad. In other words, if you want to motivate your girls, the best way is to be a role model.
For example, it works well to work with your girls as a team to build a house or a garden with her scalable magnetic building tiles rather than only tell them to do so. Pre-schoolers are not fully ready to be apart from parents or act independently. It is indeed the golden age to be motivated and inspired to pursue their dreams with confidence.
Research shows that female role models effectively inspire young girls and women to believe and aim higher.
More specifically, it can be compelling to encourage our girls to be brave to be themselves by telling some stories about some female role models in various areas.
Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who is seen as a role model not only in politics, shows no fear of taking the challenge to achieve what she believes in.
Even though Jacinda Ardern is not a woman role model in STEM areas, that’s a convincing model to empower young girls to always keep all the way up and overcome barriers to seize new opportunities within different industries.
And that’s also one of the most inspiring ways to keep our young girls curious about new things, which reflect a lot in STEM learning.
In a nutshell, female role models reinforce the initiative to close the gender gap in the STEM workforce. Global collaboration upon Campaign #ChooseToChallenge aims to empower more young girls to be ambitious to take the challenge to pursue a STEM career. For this reason, parents should seize the opportunities to encourage your girls to challenge at the golden Pre-school stage.
For more information about parenting tips on STEM education for young girls, join our community and share your STEM experience with us!