Researchers and policymakers agree that high-quality preschool STEM learning supports children’s school readiness and success. Yet far too few children, particularly those who are dual language learners, have opportunities to explore STEM. Teachers and families alike need resources and support to promote children’s early STEM learning.
With Digital Promise and WGBH, EDC created and studied digital and non-digital resources to promote young children’s learning of science, engineering, and mathematics. Building on their Next Generation Preschool Science project, the partners worked together to bridge learning at school and at home and to promote the use of STEM resources by Spanish-speaking learners and their families.
Using the Early Science with Nico and Nor™ science curricular supplement they developed, the team carried out the following activities:
- Identified science learning goals and opportunities to integrate engineering and mathematics exploration
- Engaged researchers, teachers, families, curriculum developers, and media designers in the design process
- Conducted design-based research to test activities in homes and preschools in California, New York, Massachusetts, and Washington D.C.
- Carried out a field study in 14 public preschool classrooms to test Early Science with Nico and Nor
- Children in classrooms that implemented the program made significantly more improvement in science learning than did their peers in comparison classrooms.
- Teachers successfully integrated science instruction. Children deepened their understanding of science core ideas as they engaged with science practices and made connections to math and engineering.
- The use of digital tools complemented the hands-on investigations in powerful ways—for instance, by providing opportunities not possible in the class and allowing children to easily practice what they learned in hands-on activities.
- Children who engaged in the program at home and at school made significantly more improvement in science learning relative to children who engaged at school only.
- Parents reported that activities were fun, promoted science learning, and meaningfully connected to everyday experiences.
- Findings from this project have been shared in a report, a video, and a blog .
Digital Promise Global, WGBH