The White House and a number of U.S. corporations including Jim Henson Company, Sesame Workshop, Fred Rogers, and more are leading the effort to incorporate STEM practices and content in early childhood classrooms. The following article provides more detailed information on the national effort so called known as “Early Advantage STEM Learning“. It makes perfect sense to introduce children as young as 3 years old to STEM practices and content. The reality is preschool teachers have been incorporating STEM practices and content for many years, one obvious STEM-based center is the Block Center. When children are building with blocks, they are indeed having the opportunity to become engineers, architects, creators of structures, innovators, think critically, and communicate and collaborate with their peers as they build.
I have been conducting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professional staff development and STEM-based keynotes to early childhood educators for the past 8 years. The teachers are always extremely receptive to incorporating additional STEM content within their early childhood classroom and curriculum. During the teacher training sessions I introduce early childhood educators to the Engineering Design Process, as well as Design Thinking through actual engineering challenges appropriate for the young child.
It’s never too early to provide opportunities for the young child to explore STEM content through hands-on-minds-on, inquiry-based explorations. From tinkering, to designing and building ramps with readily available materials the young child is a natural engineer.
The following video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpdilpF-ey4 is from one of my early childhood STEM-based trainings. To incorporate quality STEM experiences for the young child and beyond, does require a paradigm shift for many teachers. The teacher must learn to take on the role of the facilitator, and create a classroom environment that is student-driven vs. teacher driven, empowering the student.
Bringing it back into the classroom the following video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HglYz0h2n2E provides snippets from STEM explorations I have conducted with young children when I go into schools to conduct STEM lessons for children, modeling “best practices”.
For more information about the STEM and STEAM teacher training workshops and interactive keynotes Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski provides worldwide check out her website at http://www.drdianateachertraining.com