Eric.ed.gov – STEM Starts Early: Grounding Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education in Early Childhood

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Tomorrow’s inventors and scientists are today’s curious young children–as long as those children are given ample chances to explore and are guided by adults equipped to support them. “STEM Starts Early” is the culmination of a deep inquiry by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and New America embarked on an exploratory project, funded by the NSF, to: (1) better understand the challenges to and opportunities in STEM learning as documented in a review of early childhood education research, policy, and practice; (2) make recommendations to help stimulate research and policy agendas; and (3) encourage collaboration between pivotal sectors to implement and sustain needed changes. Prominent early STEM researchers, policy makers, and teacher educators were interviewed to gain perspectives from stakeholders in each of the early childhood areas. Next, two focus groups were conducted with teachers, one with child care and preschool educators and one with early elementary school teachers. The insight gained from these interviews and focus groups shaped the focus of this report. The examination of the STEM landscape and the players in it produced found five key findings: (1) Both parents and teachers appear to be enthusiastic and capable of supporting early STEM learning; however, they require additional knowledge and support to do so effectively; (2) Teachers in early childhood environments need more robust training and professional development to effectively engage young children in developmentally appropriate STEM learning; (3) Parents and technology help connect school, home, and other learning environments like libraries and museums to support early STEM learning; (4) Research and public policies play a critical role in the presence and quality of STEM learning in young children’s lives, and both benefit from sustained dialogue with one another and with teachers in the classroom; and (5) An empirically-tested, strategic communications effort is needed to convey an accurate understanding of developmental science to the public, leading to support for meaningful policy change around early STEM learning. Two appendixes are included: (1) STEM in early childhood: An analysis of NSF grant awards; and (2) How reframing research can enhance STEM support: A two-science approach. [For the executive summary, see ED574401.]

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som lektor hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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