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Wee Engineer | Preschool | Pre-K | Early Engineering | Tuesday, June 19

Starting Early: 4 Ways Engineering Supports Early Childhood Development

Before creating our preschool curriculum Wee Engineer, we knew that it was important to answer the question, “How will engineering support early childhood development?” Preschoolers make a lot of things, and our challenge was to channel this natural inclination of children into an engineering activity that would align with the skills they’re already developing. We conducted hours of research, consulted with many early childhood educators, and tested our activities in various early childhood settings with the goal of answering the above question.

Through this work, we identified several ways in which engineering can support children as they develop skills in these important learning domains: social-emotional, language acquisition, executive functioning, and fine and gross motor skills. Here’s what we learned.

Early Childhood STEM Education | Wee Engineer | Preschool | Pre-K | Early Engineering | Monday, May 21

Engineering for Preschoolers: How Young Children Engineer

Starting engineering early sets young learners up for success in school and life. But before asking a preschooler to engage in an engineering activity, it’s important to have a reasonable expectation of what that looks like and what an age-appropriate challenge for a young child to tackle might be. To design Wee Engineer, our preschool/Pre-K engineering curriculum that will launch Fall 2018, we first broke down the practices (or habits of mind) that define engineering and asked ourselves a simple question, “What does it look like when a preschooler engineers?” After hours of observing preschoolers in various settings, reviewing literature on child development, talking with preschool educators, and testing our own preschool engineering activities, here’s what we learned about engineering practices for this young age group.

Early Childhood STEM Education | Wee Engineer | Preschool | Pre-K | Early Engineering | Monday, July 9

Creating an Engineering Design Process for the Preschool Classroom

Engineering = hands-on play in a framework

When our son was three, he would spend hours playing with wooden blocks, making a highway for toy cars, a pen for toy animals, or just the highest tower he could stack. We didn’t think of it this way, but he was engineering.

Early childhood educators have always recognized how building with blocks (and similar hands-on activities) help children develop motor skills while at the same time exercising their creativity. But these activities can also be framed as authentic engineering. That’s something the EiE curriculum team is working on right now: a framework for preschool engineering.

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