Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education

Conference in Colorado

Dr. Mary Donegan-Ritter & Sherri Peterson

Mary Donegan-Ritter and Sherri Peterson will represent UNI and the Iowa Regents’ Center on Early Developmental Education at the Early Childhood STEM Conference sponsored by Boulder Journey School on October 12-13 in Boulder, Colorado.

Their session, Engaging All Learners in Physical Science Experiences will provide teachers with ideas about how to remove barriers in order to engage young children with learning differences in inclusive settings. During the session participants will develop an understanding of the developmental progression young children demonstrate when engaging with physical science experiences, with a focus on chutes and silos and ramps and pathways. The principles of Universal Design for Learning will be used to provide teachers with a framework for planning a physical science inquiry learning center in their classrooms.

Photos, video, and examples of materials that have been used in infant-toddler programs and inclusive preschool classrooms where teachers collaborate with UNI and the Iowa Regents’ Center for Early Developmental Education will be shared.

Participants will have an opportunity to plan STEM centers for their own program based on free online teacher resources developed by Regents Center for Early Developmental Education to support early childhood teachers in designing physical science activities in their classrooms. Teachers will use Universal Design for Learning for planning in order to provide STEM experiences for all children.

o How can teachers support children’s interests?

o How can teachers support children to express their ideas in a variety of ways?

o How can teachers support different ways to engage children in exploration and extend participation?

The ECSTEM Conference is intended to promote and increase awareness about the importance of introducing Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education in early childhood education (birth through eight years).  The conference intends to provide continuing education, professional development and sharing of research to better understand the needs of early childhood learners in regards to STEM.  They also aim to bring together researchers and educators to inform and inspire early childhood professionals.