NEW YORK, May 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that STEM jobs will increase to more than 9 million by 2022, parents are increasingly looking for innovative ways to expose their kids to science- and math-based subjects. And while most know that the popular STEM acronym stands for science, technology, engineering, and math (with the recent inclusion of 'arts', it's known as STEAM), there has been a lot of confusion about the true meaning of these concepts and how they can be taught to children through toys and play.
The Toy Association has released a brand-new report, "Decoding STEM/STEAM," to help tackle the challenges, stigmas, and myths related to STEM/STEAM learning. Assembled and reviewed by a committee of experts in STEAM fields, the report aims to shed light on the meaning and history of STEM/STEAM, eradicate common myths and misconceptions, define the role of toys and play in STEM and STEAM education, and help parents better guide their children's learning.
"Many toys and children's products on the market are labeled as being STEM- or STEAM-focused, but in reality, there is no universally accepted system for understanding what this label means," said Ken Seiter, executive vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association. "That's why The Toy Association has embarked on a multi-year undertaking to bring more clarity to STEM/STEAM. We believe that a better understanding of this topic will help toy companies create better products for the next generation of children and drive interest in science, math, and related fields."
The report explores how role models, stereotypes, and parental attitudes and anxieties about math and other STEM topics can influence a child's desire and motivation to learn. It also dives into the important role played by the arts in empowering solutions to scientific problems (underscoring the value of 'art' in the STEAM acronym) and the top 10 ways that toys can teach STEAM.
"Our overarching goal is to help toy manufacturers, parents, and teachers encourage children to use toys and play to grow and enhance their learning – and build lifelong skills," added Seiter.
The full "Decoding STEM/STEAM" report is now available at ToyAssociation.org. An infographic on the "Top 10 Ways Toys Can Teach STEAM" and a "Myths and Messages" brochure for parents and educators can be found at TheGeniusofPlay.org, The Toy Association's website for families looking for information and inspiration to make play an important part of their child's day.
In the coming months, The Toy Association's STEM/STEAM Strategic Leadership Committee will look at the unifying characteristics of STEAM toys to help guide manufacturers in developing products that foster STEM/STEAM discovery and learning.
Founded in 1916, The Toy Association™, Inc. is the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and delivering toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages. The Toy Association leads the health and growth of the U.S. toy industry, which has an annual U.S. economic impact of $109.2 billion, and its 950+ members drive the annual $27 billion U.S. domestic toy market. The Toy Association serves as the industry's voice on the developmental benefits of play, and promotes play's positive impact on childhood development to consumers and media. The organization has a long history of leadership in toy safety, having helped develop the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 40 years ago, and remains committed to working with medical experts, government, consumers, and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play.
As a global leader, The Toy Association produces the world-renowned North American International Toy Fair and Fall Toy Preview; advocates on behalf of members around the world; sustains the Canadian Toy Association; acts as secretariat for the International Council of Toy Industries and International Toy Industry CEO Roundtable; and chairs the committee that reviews and revises America's widely emulated ASTM F963 toy safety standard.
About The Toy Association's STEM/STEAM Strategic Leadership Committee
The STEM/STEAM Strategic Leadership Committee was assembled to help the toy industry, parents, and teachers better understand the concept of STEAM and how toys and play can contribute to building STEAM skills in children. It includes the following experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, math, and education:
- Babette Allina, director of government and corporate relations at the Rhode Island School of Design
- Karen Bartleson, president and CEO of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)
- Dr. Jo Boaler, professor of mathematics education at Stanford University
- Dr. Knatokie Ford, founder and CEO of Fly Sci Enterprise
- Janet Iwasa, assistant professor in the biochemistry department at the University of Utah
- Roger Malina, co-director of the Art Sci Lab at the University of Texas at Dallas
- Rafael Núñez, professor of cognitive sciences at the University of California, San Diego
- Lucinda Presley, executive director of ICEE (Institute of Creativity Empowers Education) Success Foundation
SOURCE The Toy Association