Early science experiences can inspire a lifetime of learning and curiosity, but not all students have equal access to these opportunities. That’s why EDC, in partnership with SRI International and WGBH, developed and evaluated Early Science with Nico and Nor™, an innovative science curricular program for disadvantaged preschool students.

Created during the Next Generation Preschool Science (NGPS) project, the program seeks to facilitate young children’s engagement in science practices, such as questioning, planning, and carrying out investigations. It also promotes children’s understanding of key concepts in life, physical, and earth sciences—providing building blocks for future science learning.

Key Activities

NGPS project staff conducted the following activities:

  • Developed, tested, and refined the program in collaboration with a team of preschool teachers
  • Integrated common and established learning experiences with developmentally appropriate digital activities that provide unique science learning opportunities
  • Provided professional development resources to support teachers and guide their implementation of NGPS
  • Developed an assessment using Evidence-Centered Design (ECD) to use in addition to a standardized measure of child learning
  • Evaluated the program in an implementation study involving 20 classrooms from preschool programs serving predominantly low-income families


  • Findings indicated that children whose teachers used the program made significantly more improvements in science learning than their peers
  • The success of the project led to the launch of a new project designed to support the STEM learning of dual language learners at home and at preschool

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SRI Education, WGBH