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Why we are excited about our partnership with Equinox

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Winter is nearing and we see families in search of indoor enrichment programs. Dearest is proud to announce that we have started a partnership with Equinox East 61st Street!

Here are the top three reasons why we are excited about our partnership with Equinox:

  1. Supporting modern parents in New York City
    Modern parents in NYC lead busy lives and are in constant search of quality enrichment and childcare services that support their unique lifestyle. At Equinox, parents are encouraged to pursue their own passions, stay fit, and healthy while fostering a safe and nurturing environment for their children. Dearest is proud to support this, by providing a differentiated program that helps children develop future-ready skills.

  2. Challenging the status quo
    Traditional institutions have fixed schedules, fixed standards, and fixed costs. Andrew Minigan of The Right Question Institute in Education Week says “curiosity often is not fostered in schools, especially those driven by test-based performance standards.” Learning can happen anywhere and everywhere - not just within a classroom setting. It can happen, for an example, at a gym. Equinox’s For Kids Only (FKO) programs are focused on interactive and play-based learning and are dedicated to curating an engaging experience that sparks children’s curiosity. Similarly, at Dearest, we deliver personalized and high-quality early childhood programs to families in NYC in the comfort of their own homes, and fuel children’s creativity.

  3. Letting children guide their learning journey
    Children learn best when experiences are customized based on their interests. Equinox offers diverse programs designed to further children’s development. With sessions pertaining to science, art and design, instructional swim, fashion and design, dance and movement, basketball, soccer, cooking, and languages, children have the opportunity to explore, ask questions, and discover new talents. At Dearest, we have over 300 educators with diverse expertise within the field of early childhood education. Designing the learning experience around each child’s interests is what we are all about!

If you’re curious and want to learn more about Equinox’s Winter and Spring Preschool Alternative and Children’s Enrichment programs, visit their site here.

If you’re a parent interested in in-home private sessions and/or tailored programs for your child, you can reach out to us at hello@dearest.io for more information.

Getting Ready for Preschool!

Starting preschool is a big (and exciting!) step for your little one. Whether or not it's your child’s first time away from home, as parents, we play an essential role in preparing them for this next phase. Here are a few tips on how to ease the transition for you and your child:

Organize play dates:

Your little one will soon be spending time with many other children and playdates is a great way to mimic a preschool environment. It will teach him to share attention, be a sport, and wait for his turn. Ask the teacher for a list of students who will be in the same class as your little one so you can arrange playdates with them or, find a local play group! Dearest works with the families in Manhattan, so contact us for introductions to like-minded families near you. 

Introduce routines and schedules:

Schedules and routines show consistency to help them adjust to the structure of a school setting. According to Rebecca Palacios, Ph.D., a Senior Curriculum Advisor for Age of Learning, Inc., "children learn best when routines and daily schedules are established. Routines provide opportunities to learn about order, sequencing, and concepts of time. Established routines make for smoother transitions and help children to prepare mentally for the day ahead while providing frameworks in which creative learning can occur.” Morning and night routines, that can include singing a song, reading a book, or "tucking in,” will also give them a sense of belongingness and reassurance. 

Assign simple chores: 

Whether it’s clearing their plates from the table, picking up toys, or dressing up, these simple tasks give them a chance to act responsibly. You will be surprised how much independence your child develops once he/she starts preschool. Aside from developing self-help skills, chores can help tune motor skills. Additionally, you can do arts and crafts activities such as, modeling clay, coloring, or cutting with scissors, for dexterity and improving hand strength. It will provide practice for proper hand placement and future handwriting demands. 

Practice language skills:

Take every opportunity to expand your child’s vocabulary and practice communicating what he/she would need or like to do. Ask questions and encourage them to do the same to reinforce an inquisitive nature. The better they get at self-expression, the more confidence they build to interact with others. Reading every day with your child is another great way to strengthen language skills. It even opens them up to imaginative experiences which are vital in promoting innovation and creativity.

visit THE SCHOOL WITH YOUR CHILD:

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If you haven't visited the school with your child already, ask when you can visit the school with your child or, find out if they have a visiting day or orientation. It gives you a chance to talk with teachers and have your questions answered. It will also be beneficial for your child to meet them, so he sees a friendly face on the first day. Tour the school, show his/her classroom, and maybe even play on the school playground. Experiencing the preschool with you present and gaining familiarity with a new setting can help increase your child’s comfort with this big adjustment. 

As much as we want to make this transition as easy as 1-2-3, there’s no need to over prepare. If you make it seem like it’s such a big deal, your child may end up being more worried than excited. Preschool is a time for growth. It’s about exploring things, meeting new friends, and making this whole experience as fun as possible for your little one! 

Intelligence can be developed- how we can promote Growth Mindset.

This week, we tackle the subject of the "growth mindset" - the belief that intelligence can be developed.

Carol Dweck, a Stanford University professor and a household name in education, has taught us through her research that with a growth mindset, children can get smarter through hard work. It is contrasted with a fixed mindset: the belief that intelligence is a fixed trait that is set in stone at birth.

According to Dweck, it’s important to promote growth mindset - an attitude that allows for possibilities and promotes progress and problem-solving. By teaching them that they can try new things, learn new things and that their brains can change and grow, we show them the right attitude for life-long learning. So, as parents, what can we do to help them develop a growth mindset? 

Dweck suggests some phrases that we can use to foster a “growth mindset:”

Praise a child’s progress and strategies, rather than the effort alone. 

  • "Wow, you really practiced that, and look how you've improved." "See, you studied more and your grade on this test is higher." "You tried different strategies and you figured out how to solve the problem." "You stuck to this and now you really understand it.”

Focus on what was accomplished by the child, rather than telling them to try harder. 

  • "Let's look at what you've done," "Let's look at what your understanding is," or "Let's look at what strategies you've used, and let's figure out together what we should try next.”

Instead of “I can’t,” introduce them to the power of “yet.” 

  • “I can’t do this.. yet,” "This doesn’t work…yet,” "I don’t know how to….yet,” "I’m not good at the…yet"

Based on our research and suggestions from our educators, we have compiled great books that can introduce “growth mindset” to children. 

Here are our top picks: 

Workshop : Teaching kids how to code

We kicked off the workshop with first listing out the benefits behind learning how to code. At Dearest, we believe coding is a valuable skill one can start to learn, even at a young age! Aside from developing problem-solving skills and sequential thinking, coding also develops one’s creativity. It's just like writing in a different language. 

This workshop provided tangible resources for our educators to introduce simple coding concepts to children 3 years and up. We focused on fun screen-free activities like building mazes and exploring conditional statements.

Our software developer, Zach, shared with us about his experience learning coding and how it has helped him in his daily life even with something as simple as navigation and scheduling.

One of the fun activities included making some binary bracelets! This activity was centered around teaching the concept of binary code. Using strings and beads, the educators created bracelets by encoding their names with the ASCII code. Find out how to do this activity here

Learning how to code does not have to be intimidating. There are many ways to teach your little ones the concepts behind coding without using computers and fancy toys.

We hope your kids will enjoy these activities in their next sessions with our Dearest educators. 

You can view all the photos from the event on our Facebook page!

For questions or inquiries, you can reach us through email at community@dearest.io

 

We look forward to sharing more of our events with you in the future! 

For updates, like our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram @dearest.io.

 

Event: Global Awareness Program

Dearest's Global Awareness Program is focused on developing awareness and interests in other countries, cultures, and people in the world. Based on the subject taught at International Baccalaureate® (IB) World Schools, our program focuses on personalized learning, problem-solving skills, and self-direction. 

To share an preveiw of the exciting program, we had a kid's Global Awareness Picnic in Central Park on June 17th!!

We kicked the event off by greeting in different languages. Then we dove right in to story time and art project that explore the theme of "The Circle of Us"--sharing and discussing my home, my state, my country, and my planet.

The second project was on building a "Tree of us", where we created a collaborative artwork with hand prints and discussed how we can each contribute by being a great global citizen.

This was a short and casual preview of what is happening at our Global Awareness Summer Camp. Find out more about the camp here.

 

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OUR TEACHERS

Combined, these three teachers have lived in 7 different countries and can speak 6 languages fluently! They are also experienced early childhood, music, and language teachers who can bring fun learning experience to your home. Visit www.dearest.io or email us at contact@dearest.io for more info.

Event: Design Thinking Workshop For 3-5 year olds -Round 2!

This time round we held a drop-off session to promote greater interaction among the children and boy was it exciting! Some came all decked out in their very own space clothes!

We started off with a fizzy science experiment of exploding planets - a sensory activity for the children to learn about basic chemical reactions. They definitely enjoyed the process of getting their hands dirty. 

Not long after that, Dodo made his debut appearance! You can see from the faces of the children that everyone had different reactions to this strange orange puppet from outer space!

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Someone was quick to get up on his feet and point out "This is Jupiterrrrr!"  

He was soon corrected by another two who pointed out that that was in fact, the sun, and that Jupiter was the fifth planet from the sun. It was a learning process for everyone!

We then moved on to play a mini space game called "Don't drop the asteroid"! In this outer space game, the little space explorers had to keep all the asteroids (balloons) up in the air while the music played. When the music stopped they all grabbed an asteroid and froze!

After the game, we settled down and began with Design Thinking Step 1: Asking questions. The key was to ask Dodo questions to find out about his needs and the problem he was facing.

We used this as a framework outline for the Design Thinking Workshop, based off of the Stanford method. (You can read more about the Design Thinking Method here. )

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Upon defining the need (Design Thinking Step 2: Identifying the need) that Dodo needed to go back to his home on Jupiter, we set out on a process of coming up with ideas (Design Thinking Step 3: Ideation) on how to help. The children came up with fantastic ideas on building a rocket ship! Not without building some space helmets first! 

Soon after, we left our space helmets to dry and got started on the building process of our rocket ships (Design Thinking Step 4: Building)! There were plenty of materials for everyone to choose from and start building. 

Everyone got busy with custom designing their very own individual rocket ships. They used tapes, paper plates, buttons, and a whole bunch of other recycled materials to build.

Dodo asked Jason, "What are you building? " as he saw the boy wrap some tape over some silver shapes. He responded, "I'm packing some food to bring to space so we can eat in the rocket ship!" How brilliant!!

Once they were done decorating, most of them were pretty proud of what they had built. Some even liked chilling out in their little rocket ships.  

Up next was the trip to space! This was Design Thinking Step 5: Testing what they had built. Some were a little apprehensive while others were real excited to see what lay behind the dark curtain! 

They were fascinated by the flickering lights and atmosphere in the space room. Most importantly, they helped Dodo get home and back on Jupiter!

Once we were out of the space room, we reviewed our activities and discussed how it felt to help Dodo get back to his home. We framed Design thinking as a tool you can use to help people anreven aliens!

A group photo with their rocket ships! For the full photo gallery, see here

We want to extend a big, warm thank you to everyone for coming down and participating in this workshop with us. 

At Dearest, we believe that exposure to empathizing and problem-solving concepts are an important part of a child's learning and education. We can bring these educational activities to your home, through our Dearest Providers, given our focus on personalized learning. If you've enjoyed this event and/or are looking to attend future events, you can sign up for our service here. We hope to see you join us at bigger and better future events!

Event: Space-themed Design Thinking for Children 3-5!

This Design Thinking Workshop for 3-5 year olds introduced problem-solving skills to the young children where they had to help an alien Dodo get back to his home on Jupiter.

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The event kicked off with a little alien song and a mini introduction to the Stanford d.school Design Thinking Method.  

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Design Thinking Step 1: Asking questions.

The children started off by asking questions to Dodo to find out his real needs, and with the help of prompts from some of our Dearest providers, we soon got the ball rolling!

Design Thinking Step 2 & 3: Define needs and ideate. 

Once the need for Dodo to go back to Jupiter was defined, the children began the ideation process by writing down their ideas on a piece of paper. 

The children shared their ideas with Dodo, many of which included ideas on building a rocket, spaceship, and even a flying disc! Dodo loved hearing about the children's ideas and was super excited to be traveling back to space with them!

Design Thinking Step 4: Build!

This was the most exciting part where parents and children worked together to build out their ideas. Everyone got their creative juices flowing and we soon had a room filled with super cool DIY rockets, space, ships and even space suits! 

Above, we have one of our Dearest Providers, Eva, helping Nishka and her dad build their spaceship for the trip to Jupiter. And below, we have Forrest, fully focused on painting his beautifully designed flying disc!

Design Thinking Step 5: Test what you built!

Once the children were happy with their finalized project, they got to test out their rockets, spaceships, and spacesuits on a trip to space! They were on a mission to help Dodo and bring him back to Jupiter.  

They eventually reached Jupiter and Dodo was happy to be safe and at home, all thanks to the help of the children. It was time for them to go back to Earth! They traveled back to Earth where our Dearest Provider, Jennifer, did a mini Space Storytime as a concluding activity.

The children seemed happy with what they had built; Noah loved his suit so much that he kept it on throughout even after the trip to space! 

The workshop finally came to an end with a short wrap-up and review of the Design Thinking Method. This is a great method to deeply understand other people's problems and pains, while subsequently trying to build a solution that will help them. Exposure to these problem-solving concepts for your child will put them in good stead for building effective solutions for people. 

We want to extend a big, warm thank you to everyone for coming down and participating in this workshop with us. It was a fun experience and we hope you managed to bring home a small takeaway from this Design Thinking Workshop.

At Dearest, we believe that exposure to thinking and problem-solving concepts are an important part of a child's learning and education. We can bring these educational activities to your home, through our Dearest Providers. If you've enjoyed this event and/or are looking to attend future events, you can sign up for our service here. We hope to see you join us at bigger and better future events!

Best Tools for Your Children to Learn Coding

Are you literate? If you’re reading this, you definitely are. But are you literate in a 21st-century sense?

“A computer science education is literacy for the 21st century,” said Mayor Bill De Blasio on the announcement for the “Computer Science for All” program at NYC public schools. In fact, people are starting earlier and earlier in the education of computer science, and it’s not without reason. Children may not grow to be full-fledged programmer overnight, but learning coding isn’t just for future computer scientists either. Coding not only challenges and teaches children logical thinking and problem solving skills, but also frees their imagination and creativity, as long as they do it in the right ways -- Dearest has sorted out a list of great ways for you to help your kid start today and have fun learning.

Daisy the Dinosaur

Daisy would probably be the most adorable dinosaur you’ve ever seen. Other than her cuteness, she can also familiarize your child with coding basics. The free, fun app has an easy drag & drop interface that children of all ages can use to animate Daisy and make her dance on their screens. By playing with Daisy, kids will intuitively come to understand the concepts of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving the challenges of the game.

 

Hopscotch

If your child has outgrown the games in Daisy the Dinosaur, then Hopscotch should be the next challenge! Awarded as one of the best apps for families by Parents Magazine, Hopscotch allows your talented little ones to take an initiative and make things that they enjoy. According to the developers of this block-based language, blocks are the favored way to learn to program from Harvard and MIT to Code.org and Google. Therefore, Hopscotch is deliberately designed to help kids learn coding logic and concepts through blocks before diving into the syntax of coding languages. It serves as a blank canvas for you to create your own games, art, or stories, and even includes an online community where you can upload your work and access unlimited tutorial materials.

 

Scratch

Designed and maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is a programming language and an online community where children code programs and share interactive media ranging from games, animation, to stories, and virtually anything they can create using the programming language. Instead of learning coding by staring at a computer screen on your own, in the Scratch community you can explore and experiment with other Scratch users from various backgrounds. By sharing their work in the online community, members can get feedback and learn from each other, and thus maximizing their creative and coding potentials. Meanwhile, you don’t have to be online to take advantage of Scratch’s learning opportunities -- you can download the Scratch offline editor and play with codes even without Internet access.

 

Kodable

Another great tool of learning coding, Kodable is not a game or program-building platform but a more organized curriculum for elementary students from 4 to 11 year old. Available on iOS devices, Kodable app is a student companion app to the award-winning Kodable Curriculum. It is designed to take students from learning to think like a programmer in kindergarten to writing real JavaScript by the 5th grade. Even if you are not a computer science expert, you can still use Kodable to teach your child coding because it includes the fundamentals of every modern programming language in an inviting way. With engaging and entertaining scenarios such as outer-space explorations and meeting with aliens, your little one is bound to have loads of fun learning.

 Image source: Daily Mail (dailymail.com)

Image source: Daily Mail (dailymail.com)

For more fun ways that encourage active STEM learning, check out Dearest’s favorite educational tools for children ranging from infancy to teenage! If you have suggestions, you are also more than welcome to share with us in our community of passionate educators and loving parents.

 

Sources:

Edutopia

NPR

Workshop: Teaching Science

We kicked off the event with a warm welcome by Eiko, founder of Dearest, who was extremely delighted to see the many happy faces of providers at the company's first event.

Maya, our Community Development Manager, then led the introduction on how to use the platform and our educational session guideline to give everyone a better idea and structure of what Dearest is all about!

Adam, Guest Teacher, from NYU, who is also a provider on the platform, started off by taking us through some Teaching Practices and Strategies for STEM Educators

His Ph.D. Research at NYU is based on STEM and Literacy for young children. As an experienced teacher (both General and Special Education), his passion for teaching and learning Science definitely shone through as he took us through some hands-on science activities to do with children. 

The first station revolved around The Phenomena of Inquiry: Why Structures Stand or Fall? Providers got their hands busy by building structures with different materials in various ways. 

The next station explored the Concepts of Floating and Sinking. Adam explained how using different cultural tools and words can stimulate thinking in each child and best practices on teaching. 

The third station was focused on Exploring Light Phenomena as providers learnt how to use a pin-hole camera to teach concepts related to light and creating shadows.

Up next was our STEM Competition! Providers came with a brainstormed STEM Activity with a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! It was amazing seeing how some providers came prepared not just with activities but props too! Congratulations to Rebecca for winning the prize! 

It was a really close call given the thoughtful educational activities suggested by other providers. This was also a great way for everyone to share ideas to grow and learn from each other. 

To wrap up the event, we handed out goodie bags - with activity inspiration and some handy materials to use during sessions.

Before we listed those activities however, we made sure we could do it too. So we experimented, tried and failed and put those that succeeded on display!

We hope everyone that attended walked away with great ideas and inspiration to teach and we just wanted to thank all of our providers and people who contributed to making this event a success. 

We can't wait to share with everyone more about future workshops that are currently in the pipeline. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram, and like us on Facebook to stay tuned for updates!

6 Fun Activities You Can Do with Your Child for Earth Hour

Every day we sit in well-lit architectures, stare at electronic screens, or breath in and out artificially conditioned air. Don’t you just miss the natural light -- or even natural darkness -- once in a while? If so, you’d probably want to join the Earth Hour this year, which is coming up on March 25, 8:30 p.m.

Organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Earth Hour is a global movement for saving energy to protect the planet. This annual event encourages individuals, households, and businesses to turn off their lights for an hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. in one day in late March, to raise awareness of preventing climate change.

If you’re staying at home with your children, Earth Hour is an excellent opportunity to tell them a bit about environmentally-conscious lifestyles, as well as to have a fun family time! Dearest has compiled a list of inspirations on what you can do during Earth Hour this year.

Camp outside or sit in the balcony, and gaze at the stars.

You may know what Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night looks like at MoMA, but not the night sky right above you each day. Put aside your work and daily chores for a bit, and lie down with your children in the balcony -- or in a camp outside if possible -- to enjoy the darkness, the spring breezes, and the stars. And if the weather is nice, maybe you can even see the milky way and the constellations. Are you feeling that awe of nature?

Play hide-and-seek.

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Hide-and-seek is exciting, but what's more exciting is hide-and-seek in the dark. Without clear sight, you and your children would need to listen (and even smell) to find one another. Make sure you’re in a safe room with enough space to move around!

Hold a family poetry recitation contest.

“The dark night gave me dark eyes, but I use them to seek the light.” Sounds good? Maybe your child turns out to be an even more talented poet. Darkness is often inspiring, and you as a parent can be inspiring as well by giving your child the opportunity to start writing and imagining. Dearest also features quite a few providers that have creative and literary specialties, and they are always ready to help you achieve that.

Play board games with candle light.

Board games are always a good pastime, and candle light creates the dramatic environment where you and your children can ruminate on your king, queen, knights, and bishops in a chess game. In fact, board games such as chess greatly stimulates children’s intellectual development. What’s more, if your kids are too young to play chess, we actually have a stress-free way for you to teach them how to play.

Look at old picture albums and tell stories.

Candle light also goes well with a bit of nostalgia. Remember when you were a child? Share your stories with your kids by flipping through old picture albums; your children would definitely appreciate it to get to know you better.

Meditate or practice mindfulness.

Last but not the least, one hour with lights turned off is a perfect time to practice meditation and mindfulness! Darkness is very powerful in encouraging introspection. Take a deep breath, and think quietly with your loved ones. Not sure if you’re meditating in the right way? No worries, you are always welcomed to join our educators’ event in a few days, where you can learn all about mindfulness and child education!

That's it! We hope you have a wonderful time with your little ones during this year's Earth Hour. If you have other fun activities, make sure to tell us and other parents about it! After all, community of caring and loving parents is a cornerstone for giving our children a bright future.

The Truth About STEM Gender Gap

Close your eyes and imagine an engineer building a model, or a scientist doing experiments. Now, what’s the gender of the person that you’re picturing? For most people, it’s probably a male. In reality, though there are more and more working women today, it is true that women are still underrepresented in a lot of professions, especially those in STEM.

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Does this mean that women are just not as good as men in STEM-related fields? To answer this question, we take a closer look at researches focusing on gender differences in STEM education. In 2009, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) average mathematics and science scale scores of high school graduates show no significant gender differences among high school graduates who earned credits in advanced math and engineering/science courses. In 2016, Emily Richmond, editor for the National Education Writers Association, pointed out that when breaking down the NAEP scores by gender, “girls averaged 151 points (out of a possible 300, three points higher than for boys). Further, “45 percent of females met or exceeded the proficient level, compared with 42 percent of males.”

What do these results mean? They mean that girls do just as well as boys in STEM learnings; more than that, they may outperform boys in critical thinking and technology-related problem-solving skills! However, performance is not the same thing as interest. One may have excellent performance and skills in a certain subject, but he/she doesn’t necessarily like it. A 2015 report published by the National Center for Education Statistics describes the affective dispositions (i.e. interest or attitude) of high school graduates toward STEM courses. The key finding is that compared to males, lower percentages of female high school graduates reported that they liked mathematics or science, although more female took courses in algebra, advanced biology, chemistry, and health science/technology.

So, it seems that the so-called gender gap in STEM is more real in terms of interest than of performance. Granted, the statistics from these researches may not be perfectly accurate, but they point to us an often neglected situation in STEM education -- that in order to close the gender gap in STEM fields or to improve our STEM education in general, interest is key. Our children need to be passionate about STEM to do well in those areas and derive genuine appreciation and happiness from what they do. After all, there is no point in pursuing higher scores in STEM without firstly planting in our children’s hearts a true interest in technology and innovation.

 Cavan Images via Getty Images

Cavan Images via Getty Images

Today (March 8th) we at Dearest celebrate the International Women’s Day (IWD). We believe that our girls are as intelligent and capable as our boys in STEM, and that real improvement in any education starts with cultivating passion in learning. This year, the IWD campaign theme is #BeBoldForChange, and that’s what Dearest is striving for in today’s childcare industry. We welcome you to join us and make a change for our children.

 

Sources:

The Atlantic

National Center for Educational Statistics

International Women's Day

 

How is the United States Doing in STEM Education?

The United States prides itself as one of the most innovative and technologically advanced countries in the world. It has long been a land that nurtures intellectual diversity and vibrancy, and many of the scientific discoveries and inventions born here exert far-reaching influences on people around the globe. From Silicon Valley to Wall Street, the accomplishments of the US as a nation would not have been possible without talents in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

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But it is no news that in recent years, US students’ academic achievement, particularly in STEM, lags behind that of their peers in many other countries. Recent data from one of the largest cross-national tests, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), show that 15-year-olds in the US rank the 38th among 71 countries in terms of reading ability, math and science literacy, and other key intellectual skills. Other similar studies, such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, as well as the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also demonstrate that the future development of STEM in the US does not seem to be optimistic. And what do Americans ourselves think about our STEM education? Unsurprisingly, only 29% rated US K-12 education in STEM as above average or the best in the world, according to a 2015 report from Pew Research Center.

Anyone who has basic knowledge in economics would know that science and technology are crucial factors in a nation’s GDP, income and output, and employment. An advanced level of technological development ensures a strong economy, and hence higher life qualities. Well aware of this fact, Dearest dedicates its effort into inviting STEM experts into the childcare industry, in the hope that more of our children would grow up to contribute to areas where the country needs them the most.

This effort does not at all interfere with the belief that our children have the freedom to pursue whichever subject they find their passions lie in, and it is by no means that humanities, social sciences, and the arts are less valuable nowadays. They are still important, maybe even more so in today’s changing social and political environment. But a continually energetic growth in STEM serves as the basis of all our endeavors for a better society. Dearest is excited to help you in this journey and see what wonderful things our children can grow up to build.

 

Sources:

Pew Research Center

CNN

Business Insider

Why STEM Education So Early?

Today’s society increasingly requires skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In almost all industries, quantitative skills and basic knowledge in using computers are indispensable. But is it necessary to include STEM in early education? More and more researches and evidence show that it is not only necessary, but a practical must for the benefit of both children’s individual development and the growth of our economy as a whole.

Traditionally, parents and caregivers value literacy when educating young children. It needs to be recognized, however, that math and science learning is equally crucial in early childhood development. Scientific inquiry and exploration -- the core for math and science -- are the foundation for active learning and logical thinking as well. In other words, acquiring STEM-related knowledge early on in childhood sets the cornerstones for one’s intellectual growth. A child who learns how to think from the start of his/her mental development is guaranteed to succeed in whichever field -- humanities, social science, or STEM -- that he/she chooses to commit to later in life.

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On the other hand, early childhood is a suitable, though often neglected, time period for STEM learning. According to National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, the brain is particularly receptive to learning math and logic between the ages of 1 and 4. Young children are naturally curious and inquisitive about the world around them, and what parents and caregivers should do is to provide them with learning environments that can take advantage of their natural inclination to explore.

But you may ask: what counts as a “learning environment?” Don’t you need to first learn letters and words in order to understand Newton’s Laws or computer systems? Dearest’s answer is a definitive “No.” STEM learning is not restricted to the science curriculum at school; it can easily be incorporated into children’s daily life and play, and thus exert an invisible but formative influence on children’s intellectual development. For example, the importance of playing with educational toys is not to be underestimated. When designing architectures for an imaginary city using building blocks, children effectively learn about basics in engineering different materials and structures in the 3-dimensional space. When piecing together puzzles with friends, they naturally practice math and problem solving skills in a social setting.

So, in the end, it all comes down to personalizing an early education that can bring the best out of each child. Luckily, you don’t have to be a professional in child education yourself to achieve this goal. Dearest recruits educational childcare providers that specialize in various fields, especially STEM, and their service are conveniently at your disposal. If you want your naturally born little explorer, scientist, or scholar to realize his/her potentials, get early access at www.dearest.io

 

Sources:

Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis

Strategies for Children

STEM Education Must Start in Early Childhood

 

 

Beginning of our Journey

Tired of the constant hunt for childcare that meets your unique needs? Overpaying for uninspired "punch in and out" sitters? You are not alone. Existing childcare services have not caught up to the diverse lifestyles of the parents today. As a result, parents are often forced to make impossible choices between their dreams and the quality of childcare. 

We are a team of frustrated parents, entrepreneurs, hackers, educators, dreamers, and over-achievers, who are standing up and taking this issue head-on. We are building a completely new childcare solution that is more educational, flexible, and trustworthy. Join us on our journey today and see how you can get involved!