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What Does Engineering Look Like in Early Childhood

Posted by EiE Team on Wednesday, April 26, 2023

In Pre-K education through the first years of elementary school, engineering skills may not be top of mind for parents or educators, but a solid foundation of problem-solving practice familiarity with the engineering design process will serve learners long beyond their early learning years. Though engineering in the early years looks different than the experiments and calculations students learn later in their education, hands-on learning for young kids builds on the same skills! 

“Very often the products that children create are judged by how they look, not by how they function,” says Martha Davis, an expert curriculum manager from EiE. “When we ask children to do engineering, or ask them to think not so much about what the product they're creating looks like. But whether or not it will work to solve a problem.”

Hands-on engineering activities empower young children to see themselves as problem solvers. They learn that there’s more than one way to solve a problem, and that it’s okay to fail and try again. 

Teaching young learners the engineering design process—finding a problem, imagining and planning, creating, and improving—enables educators to engage young children's minds and teaches concrete skills for solving problems.

With Wee Engineer®'s fun, engaging activities, you can capture young childrens’ natural curiosity, while strengthening problem solving and critical thinking skills, starting at age 3. Practicing social, emotional, fine motor, cognitive, and language skills prepares them for a strong start in school.

The program includes four engineering challenges that open up young learners’ minds to the world of engineering by encouraging them to use familiar materials to solve problems by creating:  noisemakers, fans, wrecking balls, and rafts. 

Download a sample challenge from Wee Engineer to see if early childhood engineering is a solution for your students!

Written by EiE Team

Topics: EiE Resources for Teachers, Early Childhood STEM Education, EiE Teaching Tips, Pre-K, Early Engineering, Kindergarten, EiE for Kindergarten, Create a Generation of Problem Solvers

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