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March 4, 2014 AT 10:00 am

Play and STEM at the Preschool Level

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Organizations like the Heritage Museums & Gardens on Cape Cod are combining play and outdoor activities to expose children to STEM at the early childhood education level. From Lous Ricciardi, vice chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education and vice chairman of Heritage Museums & Gardens, via masslive.

…For children ages 4 and under, structured early STEM education exposure sparks the kind of intellectual creativity, critical thinking and development of habits of mind that lays the groundwork for their entire academic well-being. Through their own understanding and application of “play,” a child latches on to concepts that define math and scientific principles if placed in a classroom environment — which can encompass everything from a museum, to a school, to a playground. It is therefore essential that early-education models place a greater emphasis on STEM learning to set these children on a path to inquisitive — and ultimately professional — greatness. A child’s individual development will reach its fullest potential if STEM concepts are introduced and explored from the very earliest point.

On Cape Cod, one organization, Heritage Museums & Gardens, is seeing firsthand how STEM education, particularly at the preschool level, allows children to break out of the constraints of the classroom, while also creating strong foundations in literacy, math, arts and sciences to assure future success.

Utilizing the eyes, minds and exploratory senses of children who visit, Heritage will open the doors in September to The Hundred Acre School in Sandwich, a first-of-its-kind year-round preschool designed to engage children aged 4 and 5 in active STEM learning through extensive use of the organization’s collections, facilities and spacious grounds.

This school was created to cultivate young minds and its core group of STEM-influenced and well-versed educators will use STEM as a springboard to multidisciplinary learning. Through the Hundred Acre School, Heritage is also partnering with the Sandwich public school system and the Sandwich Public Library to ultimately establish a STEM curriculum designed to be a bolstering template for such other sites across Massachusetts, including the future Sandwich STEM Academy for 7th and 8th graders…

Read more.


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