Investing in STEM: Changing the Equation for Early Learners

The research keeps adding up: Early math concepts and skills are a strong predictor of later reading and math achievement. It is widely understood that children should begin building literacy skills early on. Fewer people understand the need to foster early math skills, which connect directly to school success. We all can play a role in changing the STEM equation for our early learners.
In Washington, the math achievement gaps starts early for young children. Only about half of children, 54 percent, exhibit math readiness skills when entering kindergarten; that number shrinks to 46 percent among low-income children.
Thrive launched its Discoveries from the Field Fund in 2013 to address this gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills. To date, we have granted 15 organizations $525,000 in to advance STEM opportunities for our earliest learners. That includes five organizations who make up our third cohort of Discoveries from the Field Fund grantees. This newest cohort was chosen to address ways to make a systemic impact on STEM education.


These grantees will join our first cohort of community-based organizations and our second cohort representing the museum community. We are excited to work in partnership with all of our grantees to share our successes, challenges and opportunities to help ensure more children are ready for school success.
It is said that a 4-year-old asks, on average, over 400 questions a day. At Thrive, we believe asking questions is foundational to encouraging learning and fostering the creativity and imagination of children. Our grantees will be working on finding ways to encourage children to ask questions and offering ways for children, families and communities to develop our future scientists, engineers and mathematicians.