Early Childhood Education

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...


Blog | What Is the Most Important Thing to Teach Toddlers About Mathematics and How Can this Best Be Achieved?

Arthur Baroody

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.”


Featured Projects

Fourteen DRK-12 projects describe their work in early learning and share their challenges, findings, instruments, and products:


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.

 


Additional Resources

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.

Year: 
2020