9 Examples of How STREAM is Applied in Preschool Education

9 Examples of How STREAM is Applied in Preschool Education

Since the late 20th century, Singapore’s mainstream educational system has famously focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with undeniably positive results. Today, Singapore’s globally important role as a tech and finance hub can be directly attributed to massive public investments in STEM education. However, it’s become increasingly clear that interdisciplinary skills and creativity—areas that STEM does not traditionally emphasise—are becoming more crucial to the continued functioning of the global economy. 

Naturally, many parents today wonder if, given current trends, STEM will still be viable for their children over the next few decades. They aren’t alone in this concern either. To address STEM’s supposed shortcomings, a small but growing core of educators and policymakers are now championing a new paradigm in early education: STREAM. 

STREAM is an evolution of STEM that integrates Science, Technology, Reading & wRiting, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics, maintaining the technical edge provided by STEM while also providing a healthy dose of critical soft skills. Since preschool education is where the foundation for lifelong learning is laid, STREAM is particularly impactful at this early stage.

In Singapore, a few institutions have been trying out STREAM since the early 2010s. For instance, the popular Kinderland International Education school network has long blended STREAM into its rigorous curriculum, to positive outcomes according to what parents say about Kinderland. In just a few short years, Kinderland's academics programmes have already indicated significant successes with STREAM education, with a growing number of families with preschool-age children seeking out education at Kinderland specifically for the STREAM curriculum.


Let’s look at what activities children can partake in in a STREAM preschool:

1) Nature Exploration

STREAM preschoolers will often engage in the hands-on exploration of nature, largely in and around their school campuses but also during scheduled school trips. Rather than telling children outright about plants, animals, and natural phenomena, instructors will aim to help children observe them consciously. Through activities like gardening and nature walks, children can eventually develop an appreciation for the environment as well as solid observation skills.

2) Simple Engineering Challenges

A STREAM school may also provide children with toy building blocks and engineering challenges to cultivate their innate problem-solving and spatial skills. Through simple construction assignments, preschoolers can build bridges and houses, developing fine motor skills and learning basic engineering principles along the way.

3) Storytelling and Literacy Activities

Storytelling is a powerful way to communicate ideas and make better sense of the world around us. Getting children started early in reading circles and other literacy-based activities can help them enhance their vocabulary, comprehension, and expressive language skills, providing them the necessary tools for future reading and writing proficiency.

4) Artistic Expression

STEM has long been criticised for not emphasising creative thinking. STREAM preschools remedy this by giving children ample opportunities to engage in artistic expression. In STREAM preschools, children will regularly engage in finger painting, drawing, sculpting, and other avenues to express their creativity and imagination. Aside from helping them think laterally, these explorations enable preschoolers to develop the fine motor skills and spatial awareness needed to navigate more practical everyday challenges.

5) Hands-on Maths

In a STREAM preschool, pupils may engage with maths not just with pencil and paper, but through tactile exercises such as counting beads, pattern blocks, and shape puzzles. These activities help remove some of the abstractions of mathematical concepts, allowing children to more fully understand the relationships between numbers and real-world examples.

6) Music and Movement

STREAM preschools may also provide opportunities for children to sing, dance, and try out musical instruments in ways that meaningfully stimulate their auditory and rhythmic abilities. These activities promote self-expression and coordination, while also introducing technical challenges that can help children with holistic problem-solving.

7) Technology Exploration

Speaking of technical challenges, better-equipped STREAM preschools will offer children access to age-appropriate technology to provide them with well-balanced digital literacy skills. Through supervised sessions, children will learn basic web navigation as well as the discernment needed to be safe in today’s digital environments.

8) Collaborative Projects

Compared to mainstream schools, children in STREAM institutions will be assigned more group projects. Collaborative activities such as building a classroom terrarium, creating a mural, or staging a dramatic play will encourage teamwork and other valuable soft skills in preschoolers.  

9) Field Trips

Lastly, STREAM preschools may offer fairly frequent field trips to local museums, parks, farms, and community centres, exposing young learners to real-world experiences. Occasionally, they will be given chances to engage with adult professionals to help inspire curiosity and expand their concept of the world at large.

Is STREAM Right for Your Child?

As a rule, it’s difficult to provide blanket recommendations for educational frameworks, given how diverse children can be. That said, STREAM offers a pretty holistic approach to preschool learning that nurtures the curiosity and creativity that are already native in young children. Upon developing these skills early, children will mature into well-equipped adults who can thrive in a world that is already becoming more complex by the minute.

Though the promise of moulding children into future-ready adults is already alluring, the best thing about STREAM is the way it encourages even the youngest learners to be independent yet considerate thinkers. This framework goes against previous paradigms by treating children as true individuals and empowering them to think for themselves and the good of their wider community. If you’re hoping that your child will grow up to be an empathetic and capable leader as well as an astute student, STREAM may be the best system to help with that aspiration.