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Last month we explored the importance of STEM learning by dispelling myths surrounding it, sharing a web-based talk show that delved into math concepts as well as a blog post detailing how to engage young children with disabilities in STEM learning virtually. This month, we continue the STEM series by highlighting a documentary speaking to the importance of STEM for children with disabilities, how reading can incorporate STEM concepts and the way in which play is an ideal context for STEM learning. 

New STEM Documentary

This new documentary (STEM Starts Now) from Jenna Kanell features practitioners, families of children with disabilities, and people with disabilities discussing why STEM is important for children with disabilities and giving examples of how children with disabilities can indeed engage and excel in STEM. Running time: 13:45 minutes

Storybook Conversations

STEM and literacy make a wonderful match! Early childhood practitioners can use dialogic reading to engage each and every child in STEM learning. The following resources highlight how to merge STEM learning with shared reading experiences:
  • These 15-minute recordings provide ideas on engaging young children with and without disabilities in STEM learning using books.
  • A curated list of award-winning books that embrace everyday STEM ideas accurately and have lots of engaging illustrations and photos to talk about with young children. 
  • A list of books that embrace and celebrate Black pioneers and trailblazers in STEM fields and have lots of engaging illustrations and photos to talk about with young children.
  • This chart outlines 8 easy at-home STEM storybook adaptations for children with disabilities, categorized by the type of support families/practitioners may provide (motor, sensory, communicative/linguistic, visual, or auditory).
Consider what type of learner the children in your classroom are, particularly those with disabilities. What types of adaptations can you incorporate during the shared book reading to ensure that these children have an optimal learning experience?

Exploring STEM Through Play

Watch how the teachers at Educare, a New Orleans preschool, tap into their students' natural curiosity to incorporate STEM learning into daily play opportunities. The teachers ask questions that promote higher-order thinking while also incorporating new vocabulary. Encouraging children to play and explore makes the learning student-centered. See what STEM learning looks like in action!

Relevant NAEYC Standards

This newsletter covered STEM concepts which has relevance to the following NAEYC standards:
  • Standard 2 (Curriculum): The program implements a curriculum that is consistent with its goals for children and promotes learning and development in each of the following areas: social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive.
  • Standard 3 (Teaching): The program uses developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development in the context of the curriculum goals.

DEC Recommended Practices 

The DEC Recommended Practices includes a domain on instruction.

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