The T in STEM: Creating Play-Based Experiences That Support Children’s Learning of Coding and Higher Order Thinking

by Megan Andersen

Researchers and many others want to further develop children’s higher order thinking skills in early childhood by introducing technology tools and coding when appropriate. high-orderWith technology becoming more and more popular, even in schools, those who are knowledgeable with technology and coding are in demand and have more opportunities in their future careers. Developing higher order thinking skills in the classroom does not require much change in the classroom activities because most of the tips for developing these skills are already being implemented. These skills can be practiced through play-based experiences. Some of the tips include block play, read-alouds, storytelling, art, and game design. Game design is not a typical activity that takes place in an early childhood setting, but the other tips do. Adding game design activities is not difficult because it can be a continuation of an art activity that can be related to the development of game design. All of these activities help children reason, think critically, and problem solve which are essential skills that are needed throughout life.
This news will affect young children because they will be developing higher order thinking skills through play-based experiences in early childhood settings. Children will create meaningful experiences through coding by developing these foundational skills and have the support of their family. They will be engaging in activities that are going to deepen these skills. The children might not realize that they are building these skills or the purpose of participating in activities that help develop higher order thinking skills, but it will help children become more successful in their future. Families will become mentors and role models to support their children in developing these skills. Due to the rise in popularity and usefulness of technology families will also be learning along with their children. Families can also implement activities and purchase technology toys that are aimed at parents to help their children develop these skills.
This news will influence Early Childhood Education because developing higher order thinking skills will start in the early childhood classrooms and settings. Educators will need to introduce coding and become familiar with helping children code. They will also need to design lesson plans and activities that will help children develop the higher order thinking skills that are required for building the foundational skills for coding. Children will be building essential skills that are needed throughout their life and be a continuation of developing main skills on a deeper level that are needed to succeed in their educational careers.

Today’s guest blogger is Megan Andersen



The many benefits of outside time in school

Today’s guest blogger is Mary Wright

The article How Access to Nature During the School Year Can Help Students Thrive is about getting students outside during the school day and reconnecting them with nature. It connects the rise of obesity and the increase of psychological and academic problems with a decline in outdoor time and an increase in screen time. The article goes on to discuss the benefits of being outside some of which, according to Cathy Jordan, the research director for the Children and Nature Network, are that “Exposure to nature contributes to ‘emotional restoration, decreases stress, can decrease symptoms of anxiety, can elevate mood’”. In addition to the cognitive benefits being out in nature has physical and social benefits as well. Physically being in bright sunlight can actually prevent nearsightedness. Socially when children spend time outdoors they tend to work collaboratively and communicate more than they normally would in a classroom setting. Additionally they learn to respect the people and things around them and can relate to them better.

This article also shows how teachers can “make use of the natural surroundings for interdisciplinary projects”, connecting science to history to literature all from a lesson about trees. It discusses letting students be creative and get messy and the “controlled uncontrolled experience” that being outside can give them, but only of teachers take the initiative to get started.

 I think this news will affect young children and their families by showing parents how important it is to get their children off the screens and out in nature. I think if people realize how beneficial being outside is to children they will be more likely to take their children outside. Additionally I believe that they will find being outside not only benefits children, but adults as well. We will all be healthier and happier if we spend less time on our screens and more time connecting with the world around us.
This news will influence Early Childhood Education by getting more teachers to step up and take the initiative to start outdoor programs at their schools. Being outside will help children to be better students and give them a greater understanding of the world around them which in the long run can only be beneficial to us all.

by Mary Wright