The Formation of CEESTEM
In 2009, NASA supported the formation of CEESTEM through a federal appropriations grant charged with the following goals and activities:
- Foster and conduct curriculum development research on EC-STEM education
- Provide access to model classrooms
- Develop high quality professional development in early childhood STEM education
- Create a clearinghouse of exemplary EC-STEM curricula and classroom material
- Hold national early childhood STEM conferences.
Children construct knowledge of the world through exploring, experimenting, and forming nascent "theories" about how the world works. However, national efforts in math and science rarely focus on children below third grade, and almost never below kindergarten. Clearly, more can be done in the early years to take advantage of children's natural curiosity and lay a foundation for later STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning.
This project supports early childhood educators in creating hands-on, interactive classroom activities that encourage young children to develop and use scientific inquiry processes to explore and better understand their environments. This project will reach students (and their teachers) in an age group that has received little attention from the STEM community. In addition to laying a foundation that will contribute to increasing the number of students who choose to pursue careers in STEM fields, the work of CEESTEM will also contribute to raising the scientific literacy of all students, including those who do not choose careers in STEM fields.