The Roots of STEM Success: Changing Early Learning Experiences to Build Lifelong Thinking Skills

Monday, January 1, 2018
Resource Type:
Report | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Public Programs, Afterschool Programs, Summer and Extended Camps, Community Outreach Programs, Museum and Science Center Programs, Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits, Informal/Formal Connections, K-12 Programs, Pre-K/Early Childhood Programs
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Pre-K Children (0-5) | Families | Parents/Caregivers | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
Education and learning science | General STEM
Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

This position paper, co-authored Center for Childhood Creativity's Director Elizabeth Rood and Director of Research Helen Hadani, details the importance of exposing children ages 0-8 to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) experiences. The review of more than 150 empirical studies led Rood and Hadani to conclude that, despite what has been previously thought, modern research supports the understanding that children are capable of abstract thinking and STEM-learning from infancy, beginning before their first birthday.

The Roots of STEM Success, authored in support of classroom teachers, informal educators, experience designers, and families, offers six research-backed findings to be considered when redesigning STEM education. These findings show that formal education, informal education, and at-home learning all need to be re-evaluated for the ways in which they can help support our youngest learners to build STEM knowledge. The paper also shares practical tips for how adults can introduce children to STEM-based experiences as part of daily life.

Private Foundation
Funding Program: 
Thomas P. Murphy Fund at the San Diego Foundation

Team Members

Helen Shwe HadaniHelen Shwe HadaniAuthor
Elizabeth RoodElizabeth RoodAuthor
Amy EisenmannAmy EisenmannContributor
Ruthe FousheeRuthe FousheeContributor
Garrett JaegerGarrett JaegerContributor
Gina JaegerGina JaegerContributor
Joanna KauffmannJoanna KauffmannContributor
Katie KennedyKatie KennedyContributor
Lisa RegallaLisa RegallaContributor

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