Young children learn through active exploration — they have a natural drive to observe, interact, discover, and explore. It is during these years that Florida Conference Office of Education teachers believe they should begin evidence-based STEM curricula (science, technology, engineering, and math).
Gateway Christian School and LifePoint Academy, both in Jacksonville, have been piloting a play-based curriculum that has proven to be a particularly effective method for early learning. “STEM activities can easily be embedded in activities that are already of interest to children. As a teacher, it is so exciting to watch their ideas come to life,” said Louise Hendrickson, Gateway Christian Academy.
Just block play? More like block play with intentionality. These ear- ly childhood classrooms will spend this school year with a very specific time frame dedicated to EXPLORE, CREATE, TEST, and SHARE as they learn about how structures are built, and investigate some of the problems of designing buildings for different purposes that can be used by lots of different people.
“Not only are we preparing our children for a world that will re- quire science, technology, engineering, and math skills, but we are also teaching them how to think, how to listen, and how to understand complex language,” said Wendy Smiley, VBK director and pre-K teacher at LifePoint Academy.
Florida | November 2020