New evidence continues to emerge on the formative potential of the early years in a person's life. NSF is investing in programs to transform STEM teaching and learning in pre-K and the early grades. This Spotlight features NSF-funded projects and resources that seek to leverage these early learning opportunities.
In this spotlight...
- What Is the Most Important Thing to Teach Toddlers About Mathematics and How Can this Best Be Achieved? | Blog by Arthur Baroody
- Featured Projects
- CADRE Reports and Briefs
- Additional Resources
Blog | What Is the Most Important Thing to Teach Toddlers About Mathematics and How Can this Best Be Achieved?
Arthur Baroody, Professor of Curriculum & Instruction, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Parents, teachers, or others interested in early childhood mathematics education often ask: “On what should initial instruction focus?” My answer is verbal subitizing: recognizing small numbers (1 to 3 or 4 items) and labeling them with an appropriate number word. It often takes 2-year-olds many months to label collections of “one” and ‘two” accurately and reliably. Imagine my joy when my wife informed me that our younger daughter Arianne, 2 at the time, had learned “two.” I immediately went to the playroom, held up two fingers, and asked, “How many fingers Arianne?” “Two Daddy,” was her immediate reply. My heart swelled, but a scientist must be skeptical. So, I held up three fingers and asked the same question. Arianne again replied, “Two, Daddy.”
Fourteen DRK-12 projects describe their work in early learning and share their challenges, findings, instruments, and products:
- Building a Grades K-2 Early Algebra Learning Progression Prototype for Diverse Populations
- Articulating a Transformative Approach for Designing Tasks that Measure Young Learners' Developing Proficiencies in Integrated Science and Literacy (Collaborative Research)
- Developing A Discourse Observation Tool and Online Professional Development to Promote Science, Oral Language and Literacy Development from the Start of School
- Development and Validation of a Mobile, Web-based Coaching Tool to Improve Pre-K Classroom Practices to Enhance Learning
- Early Emergence of Socioeconomic Disparities in Mathematical Understanding
- Exploring Early Childhood Teachers’ Abilities to Identify Computational Thinking Precursors to Strengthen Computer Science in Classrooms
- Integrating Science with Mathematics and Engineering: Linking Home and School Learning for All Young Learners
- Learning in Places: Field Based Science in Early Childhood Education
- Measuring Early Mathematical Reasoning Skills: Developing Tests of Numeric Relational Reasoning and Spatial Reasoning
- Networking Urban Resources with Teachers and University to enRich Early Childhood Science (NURTURES) Phase II: Expansion and Evaluation
- Sensing Science through Modeling: Developing Kindergarten Students' Understanding of Matter and Its Changes
- Supports for Science and Mathematics Learning in Pre-Kindergarten Dual Language Learners: Designing and Expanding a Professional Development System
- The Developmental Emergence and Consequences of Spatial and Math Gender Stereotypes
- Young Mathematicians: Expanding an Innovative and Promising Model Across Learning Environments to Promote Preschoolers' Mathematics Knowledge
CADRE Reports and Briefs
CONSIDERATIONS FOR STEM EDUCATION FROM PREK THROUGH GRADE 3
This brief draws on research and development supported by the National Science Foundation to highlight important considerations about STEM educational experiences for young children and professional learning for educators who provide those experiences. See References, Authors and Contributors, and Practitioner-Oriented Resources.
NURTURING STEM SKILLS IN YOUNG LEARNERS, PREK-3
This brief was produced in connection with the STEM Smart event held in Washington, D.C. in December, 2013. It highlights challenges, key research, and promising program in critical areas of the early education landscape.
Learn more about the STEM Smart workshop on early childhood.
DRK-12 PROJECT VIDEOS ON EARLY CHILDHOOD WORK
View a playlist of 3-minute videos featured in the 2016-20 STEM for All Video Showcases that are focused on early childhood work and funded by the National Science Foundation's DRK-12 Program.
POSTER GALLERY OF DRK-12 WORK
Browse the work of DRK-12 projects. These posters feature work in early childhood education presented at the 2014, 2016, and 2018 DRK-12 PI Meetings.
EARLY EDUCATION PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS FEATURED AT THE 2013 STEM SMART WORKSHOP
These resources were featured at the STEM Smart event held in December, 2013, and represent the work of various STEM education projects focused on early childhood. Learn more about these programs and projects.
VIDEO ON INNOVATIONS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD STEM CURRICULA AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
At the 2014 DRK-12 PI Meeting, one breakout session, "Innovations in Early Childhood STEM Curricula and Professional Development," featured a poster symposium with representatives from five preschool projects across STEM domains that have developed curricula and provided teachers with supports for motivating all children’s engagement with STEM. In this video, representatives discuss their projects, major challenges faced, and what they have learned through their work.