This poster symposium features six preschool projects across STEM domains that have developed curricula and provided teachers with supports for motivating all children’s engagement with STEM.
The collective work represented in this session responds to reports that the United States’ competitive advantage lies in its role as a technological innovation leader and to proposals that individual interest in innovation should be fostered early to avoid stereotypes and other impediments to entering the innovation pipeline. Unfortunately, young children, especially those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, often miss learning opportunities in which their curiosity about the natural and human-made world could serve as leverage to improve their school readiness, transition to school, motivation to engage with STEM, and future achievement. A major challenge to improving the STEM educational offerings for all young children, however, is that STEM does not occur in U.S. preschools in any substantial way.
This session features a poster symposium that brings together critical expertise about how to provide teachers with supports for motivating children’s engagement with STEM in and out of the classroom and how to develop curricula that extend children’s natural curiosity and build purposefully on their informal STEM learning experiences. In the time allotted, participants visit six posters and discuss with the authors informally, followed by a discussant response and a substantial Q & A period between the audience and the project leaders. The discussant provides an overview of common themes across the posters and considers implications regarding curriculum and professional development approaches promoting the STEM learning of diverse groups of students served by preschools across our nation.