Supporting STEM Learning for Young Children

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-2-56-38-pmA new report by a group of early childhood leaders offers a series of guiding principles and recommendations on ways to take action to support high-quality STEM education and experiences for young children.  The report, “Early STEM Matters: Providing High-Quality STEM Experiences for All Young Learners,” is the culmination of two years of work by the Early Childhood STEM Working Group, which was co-organized by Erikson Institute and UChicago STEM Education at the University of Chicago.

The group identified these guiding principles:

  1. Adult supervision is necessary to help guide children through their STEM experiences and support their natural curiosity.
  2. Discussion and visual representation, such as drawing and writing, must be a part of STEM education.
  3. Building adults’ confidence in STEM concepts is important to shaping children’s own attitudes toward STEM.
  4. Culture, race, and socio-economic status influence children’s STEM experiences.

The guiding principles informed the six recommendations of the group to improve STEM education in early childhood classrooms, including

  1. Through advocacy and messaging, raise awareness about the importance of access to high-quality STEM education for all children.
  2. Improve STEM-related teacher preparation and ongoing professional development.
  3. Involve parents in their children’s STEM experiences by offering initiatives and resources that encourage their participation outside the classroom.
  4. Develop resources and offer guidance to support educators’ efforts to implement STEM experiences in the classroom.
  5. Make sure that educational standards at the state level explicitly address STEM disciplines.
  6. Establish a long-term research agenda to shape ongoing support for and development of early childhood STEM education.

Read the full report here: Early STEM Matters


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