Engineering is typically one of those subjects that you learn about later in High School and in University. Typically you require a certain understanding of mathematics and science before jumping into the world of Engineering.
What I have found so far running my podcast and the topics I'm covering there is that the concepts behind it all end up being far more important than the technical details themselves. I believe that the general problem solving skills are so powerful that it would apply to so many fields, after all we are in the business of problem solving. That being said, there are very technical issues that require deep technical knowledge to solve, this is not to be forgotten and I am not attempting to belittle this side of it.
The message I'm trying to share is there are techniques and ways of thinking of problems that would help solve a large amount of problems that exist there. Most people are looking for an answer and think simply finding a solution is the hard part. - But it is not. - what we know in Engineering is finding a solution is the easy part, firstly there are many solutions and you must consider feasibility of each solution, but even before that there is ensuring you are asking the right question in the first place.
Now with this in mind, I'm on a mission to bring these concepts outside of merely the Engineering space and bring some of these concepts down to a more accessible level. But before that, I have found myself researching a large amount into consciousness, how the mind works, neurology, philosophy and also in learning itself. There is much to be said about the concepts you learn between the ages 0-7. There are some things you just "know" and it is important to understand of the things you just "know" how many should be updated, and knowing what you know now as an adult, what concepts would you like to have learned earlier.
I began to delve into the children's books and to see what concepts we learn in line with science and mathematics. It's not great. There's some cool stuff out there but the vast majority are narratives around behaviour, curiosity, etc. By the way, I am not saying any of these are unnecessary or are not important - they are. But in the area of numbers there is mainly arbitrarily counting.
I believe learning Engineering concepts early, even as a toddler to early school years is valuable and that kids can actually handle it. What is lacking is a presentation of those concepts that is digestible for young minds.
To be clear I am not talking about teaching kids calculus, bending moments but in the same way other books bring it down to narratives and simple pictures really about the concept and no hardcore technical details is the type of content that will allow this. So the answer to the question in the post from one Engineers point of view is to teach my child about engineering as early as possible.
After all, it is common to teach our children that their grandmother may eat them on a full moon and actually transform into a murderous beast. (Shout out to Little Red Riding Hood).
How scary can some engineering concepts be?
To fill part of the void of content of engineering for young minds I have written and illustrated the first of a series of books that will introduce some concepts early. The first being a baby counting book that teaches counting while introducing the concept of a number line.
As engineers we actually use the number line not just as a tool to help understand negative numbers, addition, subtraction and basic geometry, but all the way to calculus, signal analysis, stats, trends, you name it, it can go on a number line.
You can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L978ZD3
This is just the beginning and if you have any concepts you want me to make my way towards just let me know. Let's not be afraid to teach our young ones Engineering concepts early on!