EiE to Develop PreK-K Curriculum

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Some EiE units, like "Improving a Play Dough Process," shown here, are already popular with kindergarten teachers.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

In the last few years, the idea of offering engineering instruction to precollege (grades K–12)  students has gone from a radical innovation to a mainstream concept. Organizations such as the National Science Teachers Association have started looking to the next frontier, making preschool engineering a priority. The question is how to implement this kind of instruction, given that engineering curricula for very young children are rare enough to be almost non-existent. With this need in mind, the EiE project will start work this fall on a new engineering curriculum for ages 3 to 5. 

“Like all our curricula, it will be research based and developed in close consultation with PreK-K educators,” says EiE director Christine Cunningham. “And because we know many early childhood programs face budgetary constraints, it will be free, following the model established with our afterschool curricula Engineering Adventures and Engineering Everywhere.” A free professional development guide is also planned.

“Kids in PreK-K classrooms are already designing with a purpose: building block structures to house an imaginary zoo, or running a lemonade factory at the water table,” says Jeff Winokur, an early childhood and elementary science educator at Wheelock College. “But teachers may not think of these activities as engineering, or know the pedagogical strategies to support this kind of learning. The EiE initiative has great potential to address this need, and also to help educators see they don’t have to buy a lot of new stuff to do engineering.” 

The three-year, $500,000 project is self-supported through sustainable reinvestment by EiE.

Engineering is Elementary is a project of the National Center for Technological Literacy® at the Museum of Science, Boston.

 

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