Start a preschool STEM education program

Three steps that can bring STEM-based activities to your schools

Look for role models. Districts should find preschools that are already teaching STEM, consider what elements make it a strong program, and think about ways they could modify instruction for their own classrooms, says Phil Hampton, network director of VC STEM, an alliance of organizations working to enhance STEM instruction for students of all ages.

Provide training for teachers and staff. Teachers and staff at Hopkins Public Schools had the chance to familiarize themselves with newly obtained STEM materials before instruction was introduced, says Kathy Willett, preschool supervisor for Hopkins Public Schools.

Teachers also discussed the best ways to introduce STEM materials into the classroom, and which questions would provoke students to think more deeply about the lessons.

Materials don’t have to be expensive. A great place to start is the book Making and Tinkering with STEM by Cate Heroman, says Susan Friedman, senior director of content strategy for the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

The author uses inexpensive, common materials such as paper towel rolls, egg cartons and toothpicks, and bases STEM challenges on the plots of children’s books.

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