STEM in Early Learning Adding Up to Success

 
“Let’s explore this book.”
“Imagine something and draw on this paper.”
“I love to sing our favorite songs together.”
 
We encourage our children in these activities because we want to build their confidence and creativity, their interest in reading and the arts, and above all, a lifelong love of learning. At Thrive, we believe the same should be done with science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM.
 
Even in the earliest years, we have an opportunity to introduce children and their families to STEM concepts that can open doors to future learning. That’s why Thrive, with its Discoveries from the Field Fund, invests in projects throughout the state that provide positive STEM experiences for families and give them an opportunity to continue the learning at home.
 
In its second round of STEM funding, Thrive is awarding grants to five museums for this work: the Burke Museum, the Frye Art Museum, Hands On Children’s Museum, Imagine Children’s Museum, and Seattle Children’s Museum. They’ll also be eligible to receive future funding to refine their projects and find ways to expand them. (The museums are the second group to receive STEM project funds; read about the first group here.)
 

 
One thing that makes this grant-making effort different and innovative is the way we guide our grantees in design thinking. They are encouraged to ask some important questions:

  • How might we make STEM educational opportunities exciting and fun for children?
  • How might we foster a positive STEM identity for our youngest children?
  • How might we educate everyone around us that we all have a role to play in ensuring children have positive STEM experiences?

 
We believe that by investing in STEM projects and enabling our grantees to share resources, we can spark change. We want to inspire organizations and early learning professionals to prioritize STEM and school readiness, as well as shift how parents and caregivers talk about STEM with their children. Not to mention — nurture the creative talents of our next generation of scientists, technology innovators, engineers and mathematicians.
 
So, now it will be:
“Let’s experiment and mix these ingredients.”
“Build something with these blocks.”
“I love to count things together.”
 
All children deserve the opportunity to love learning from the earliest years.
 

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