Giving Compass’ Take:
• A nonprofit accrediting and assessment organization called AdvancED/Measured Progress is piloting a new early-childhood STEM education program to see the effects of STEM instruction on early-learners.
• What are the benefits of introducing STEM and project-based learning earlier on for students?
Situated in what has become known as the East Coast version of Silicon Valley, Minnieland Academy at Ashbriar, a private early-childhood and kindergarten center in Ashburn, Virginia, was looking for a way to stand out among newer preschool programs.
“They’re just screaming technology from the roof” to attract a “a lot of really smart parents” working in the area’s growing engineering sector, Shaun Marie Harrison, the center’s director, said in an interview.
So when AdvancED/Measured Progress, a nonprofit accrediting and assessment organization, invited the school to be one of the first to pilot a new early-childhood STEM certification, Harrison saw an opportunity to highlight the center’s 10-year-old kindergarten STEM program — one that focuses on project-based learning, bridge building, and turning what is referred to as the “international house” into a weather station or a space shuttle.
“STEM isn’t all bells and whistles. STEM is an approach to learning,” Harrison said. “Our kids, we’re not giving them tech time every day.”
Developed as an extension of AdvancED’s K-12 STEM certification, the early-childhood recognition emphasizes learning environments that help develop young children’s curiosity and critical thinking skills.
“The content is important, but what we’re really looking at is creating children’s ability to think and look at the world though that inquiry, problem-based, project-based and engineering design process,” Lisa Sutherland, AdvancED’s director for early learning services, said in an interview.
Read the full article about early-childhood STEM programs by Linda Jacobson at Education Dive.
Early Childhood is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
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