Peanut butter and jelly. Peas and carrots. Peaches and cream. STEAM and nature study.
Yes, they belong together that much. This isn’t a new concept, it’s just that back in the olden days when we were kids, they didn’t call it “STEAM” (or “science, technology, engineering, art, and math.”) But we built forts, bridges, and hide-aways none the less. We forged ramps for our bikes, pulleys to get snacks to the top of the tree, and leaf crowns for our heads. We rigged up makeshift roller coasters, launched pinecones with homemade catapults, and sent crude little boats down drainage ditches. Most of us spent our childhood steeped in STEAM outside, from the time the sun came up until the street lights came on.
Edwin Hubble said, “Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.” Of equal notability (in my humble opinion), Richard Louv said “If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”
While our kindergarten curriculum includes a very gentle approach to first lessons in history and geography, mostly focusing on the life events of the child and their family, I felt like I should start to incorporate some additional unit studies into our learning. There are so many historical figures worth studying, worth investigating, even when our children are very young, and many of the lessons we learn from their experiences shape future ideas for our children as they begin to connect the dots of world events and people.