By Jessica Griffin
Imagine Children’s Museum
Science is all around us! Even young children can use scientific thinking to explore and learn about their surroundings.
At Imagine, we are partnering with under-resourced child care providers to provide teachers with training and resources about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The goal is that the teachers – and the children in their care – become more excited about STEM learning.
We kicked off work with three child care providers – Kiddy Korner Montessori and Daycare in Monroe, Learn and Grow in Monroe, and Lil People’s World in Lynnwood – with a Welcome Night in September, though our work actually started six months earlier.
Starting in the spring, with the help of Elaine Larson, an Early Achievers Regional Coordinator for the Opportunity Council, Imagine identified several potential partners among the child care centers in our area. Following phone and site interviews, Imagine selected the three centers that will receive mentoring to give their teachers the tools and confidence to teach STEM in their classrooms.
We’re working with a curriculum dubbed Little Science Lab, featuring use of Early Childhood Hands On Science (ECHOS) content developed and tested with funding from the Department of Education. ECHOS readies children for kindergarten and gets them excited about STEM with fun, hands-on activities.
When the directors and teachers from the three centers visited Imagine for Welcome Night on Sept. 23, they got the chance not only to meet one another, but also the opportunity to visit the museum and understand our role as an important family resource.
We injected some fun into the evening, too! After a STEM scavenger hunt around the museum, participants gathered to learn more about Little Science Lab, as well as goals and expectations for our work together. As a preview to the Rainy Weather unit, we made our own rain sticks and talked about how science is all around! Throughout the year the teachers and students will be learning all about rain, plants, birds, bees, shells, measuring, water, air and magnets!
Read more about promoting the development of scientific thinking
The child care providers and museum staff also shared their thoughts and excitement for the coming year, as well as their questions about the Little Science Lab curriculum. One of the things we are most excited about in this program is that rather than just teaching facts, or even concepts, it actually promotes scientific thinking of the world around us. Everyone was excited to talk about the family engagement component of the project that will be launching in the winter.
The program launched in all three child care center sites last month.