Head Start on Engineering: Teachers, Informal STEM Educators, and Learning Researchers Collaborating to Engage Low-Income Families With Engineering
The Head Start on Engineering project engages parents and children in a multicomponent family engineering program that includes professional development for teachers, workshops for parents, take-home family activity kits, home visits, classroom extensions, and a culminating field trip to a science center.
Throughout their lives, children from low socioeconomic backgrounds and traditionally underserved and under-resourced communities face significant barriers to engaging with engineering and science (Gershenson 2013; Orr, Ramirez, and Ohland 2011). Supporting learning and interest development in early childhood, and engaging families, preschools, and community stakeholders in this process, is a powerful way to address these issues and a critical economic investment to ensure children become productive members of their communities (Garcia et al. 2016). Although not often a focus of early childhood education, engineering and problem-solving skills are increasingly recognized as essential for children and adults to thrive in today’s society and are a growing part of the K–12 curriculum (NGSS Lead States 2013). Introducing families to the topic of engineering and sparking young children’s interest in planning, building, testing, and problem solving helps prepare them for school and life.
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