can use class projects to integrate mathematical
and scientific learning. Examples of a variety of
class projects and the related STEM learning are
included in chapter 5.
Quick STEM Activities
Early childhood teachers have many required
standards and curricular components to inte-
grate into each day’s schedule. Even in preschool
and kindergarten, many teachers feel pres-
sured to fit so many requirements into the day.
However, many opportunities for learning in
the STEM disciplines go unaddressed each day.
Many of these involve daily activities that are al-
ready part of the schedule but can be “tweaked”
through a slight change, addition, or focus.
These can provide rich experiences in science
and mathematics. Chapter 6 investigates numer-
ous simple changes to regular classroom activi-
ties that create opportunities for learning in the
STEM Field Trips
Field trips provide preschool and kindergarten
children with the opportunity to visit settings
they may not typically experience, or to more
fully explore their own community. Chapter 7
discusses ways to create richer learning opportu-
nities on field trips by planning for STEM learn-
ing outcomes and documenting the experiences.
Some field trips already have a science compo-
nent, such as trips to the zoo, a farm, or the park.
Still, children’s learning can be enriched by add-
ing mathematics, technology, and engineering to
the experience. Other field trips, such as a walk
around the neighborhood, may not initially ap-
pear to be STEM oriented, but with proper plan-
ning they can be. Teachers can encourage closer
scientific investigation, such as observing and
recording the plants and animals that are part of
the community. Or children can focus on the de-
sign and structure of various buildings, connect-
ing children to the science, mathematics, and
engineering that are all around them.
Summary After a decade of intense focus on literacy devel-
opment in early childhood programs, attention is
now shifting to the importance of early learning
in mathematics and science. STEM education in-
tegrates learning in both of these disciplines and
includes connections to technology and engi-
neering. By focusing on the connections between
science and mathematics, teachers can accom-
modate curriculum goals and learning standards
in both disciplines while helping children under-
stand the ways in which mathematics and science
are woven into their daily experiences. Learning
in each area reinforces the other.
A Note about Terminology
Glossary terms appear throughout the text in
bold and italic type.
st e m e d u c at i o n