Science Technology Engineering Art Math (STEAM)
Innovating Early Childhood Experiences
The STEAM Preschool team at the Institute of Excellence in Early Care and Education (IEECE) aims to holistically mix creativity with STEM learning. We emphasize creativity, innovation, playful learning, investigation, discovery, problem solving fun, and critical thinking. We believe this combination of the arts and creativity with STEM learning instills children with an interest and curiosity about the world around them. They seek to discover answers to their own questions about science, technology, engineering, and math.
What is STEAM?
STEAM is an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics to guide student inquiry, conversation, and critical thinking.
The adult that is facilitating activities for early learners should be creating experiences and opportunities for discovery. Demonstration is not engaging for young children and directing them through every step of the process doesn't allow for creativity, problem solving or independence.
Playing To Learn
Experience is the best way to learn. When children have fun, playful, engaging opportunities to explore STEAM concepts, they not only learn, they learn to love learning.
Provide children with many opportunities and lots of time to investigate.
Let experiences and joy be the primary purpose of the activity. The learning will come when the play is authentic.
Join children's play and add to conversations with new STEAM language authentically.
Give children many and varied opportunities to make, to build, to paint and to create.
Build the Foundation: Many and Varied Experiences
Answer fewer questions. Ask more.
Ask questions that don't have a "right" answer.
Be curious yourself! Model excitement for learning new things.
Discovery (Not Demonstration)
Ask yourself: "Is this activity the child's or mine?" Make sure the child is the artist or scientist and your audience. Make sure they are the ones that are doing the thinking and making discoveries.
IEECE STEAM Lessons
The IEECE STEAM team has created a collection of hands-on lessons using a template for easy implementation. The lessons include standards, connections to STEAM concepts, materials list, procedure, tips for success and lesson extensions.
- STEM Sprouts is from the Boston Children's Museum and has a teaching guide, parent tip sheets and activities.
- PNC Bank's Grow Up Great® Lesson Center has a teacher's tool kit and variety of free, printable lesson plans organized by preschool themes.
- First 8 Studios has science learning apps, dozens of hands-on activities and a teacher's guide.
- Gryphon House has a large collection of open-ended science activities.
The National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning in partnership with the Office of Head Start is going “full STEAM ahead” with these resources and in-service webinars.
- Full STEAM Ahead Resource Collection
- Guide: Understanding STEAM & How Children Use It
- Video: Using The Scientific Method
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has STEM resources including books, articles and blogs.
The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) provided a Preschool Innovative STEM Curriculum Grant to the Hundred Acre School at Heritage Museums & Gardens. They created a STEM focused curriculum for early learners.
edWeb.net has a collection of archived webinars focused on STEAM in early childhood.
Early Childhood Investigations Webinars has archived webinars focused on STEAM in early childhood.
Author Andrea Beatty writes about pursuing one’s passion with persistence and learning to celebrate each failure on the road to achieving one’s dreams in her book "Rosie Revere, Engineer". She also has other STEM related books including, "Ada's Twist, Scientist" and "Iggy Peck, Architect".
Author and illustrator Daniel Miyares created "Float", a wordless, imaginative picture book about a boy and his paper boat out in a rain storm.
Author Rebecca Kai Dotlich's poetic picture book "What is Science" introduces young children to the exciting and ever-changing world of science.
Author Patty Lovell writes about a child that uses the materials she can find around her and her imagination to create and play in "Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon".
Author Chris Van Dusen writes about a boy that designs his fantasy car with lots of imagination in "If I Built a Car".
Our STEAM program's professional learning and instructional coaching for early childhood teachers has been made possible with the generous support of the Children's Services Council of Palm Beach County.
Our STEAM program's materials and supplies have been supported generously by the PNC Bank Grow Up Great® Program. Helping Young Minds Thrive PNC Grow Up Great® champions early childhood education. Since 2004, they have provided tools and resources that help develop curious young minds. They are proud to serve children from birth to five, particularly underserved children, by empowering their caregivers and supporting their teachers.
The STEM council is an alliance of private, public and non-profit sectors that works collaboratively to create and promote STEM education in Palm Beach County.
The Science Center's Early Childhood program makes learning fun and exciting. Children will be introduced to chemistry, biology, physics, and geology through play-based, hands-on activities that stimulate thought and teach cause and effect.
The marinelife center has programs and experiences that introduce basic sea turtle conservation and biology to young children who have a natural curiosity for marine life and sea turtles.
Manatee Tales and Puzzle Time is a program for ages two and above. Listen as a Manatee Master storyteller reads from a selection of colorful books sharing stories about various aquatic species that live in the Lake Worth Lagoon and the waters beyond. Then enjoy play time with our large marine life floor puzzles and coloring activities.
Cultivate creative thinking and enhance STEM curriculum though the Norton’s STEAM tour. Students make connections between the arts, math, and science through careful observation and discussion.
The Zoo's Early Explorers program is an interactive educational experience designed for preschool-aged children! These themed programs created for children ages 3-4 include: up-close animal encounters, stories, games, crafts, and visits to animal habitats throughout the Zoo or nature play.
Integrating Investigations: STEAM and the Scientific Method in the Preschool Curriculum - HEO0235
Participants will explore how to integrate the scientific method into early childhood learning experiences with a goal to stimulate children's curiosity and to facilitate experiences that foster investigation, discovery, inquiry, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.
Science by Design - HEO0239
Participants will develop knowledge of STEAM concepts to help them feel more confident in effectively facilitating investigations and experiences related to science topics including color, light and physics.
Creative Scientists - HEO0245
Participants will explore how to facilitate STEAM learning experiences that foster creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.
Our Artful Earth - HEO0246
Participants will explore how to facilitate STEAM learning experiences that connect with the environment, nature and art.
Technology-Based Manipulatives for PreK - HEO0285
Participants will discover methods for using Osmo kits and technology-based manipulatives with their children that provide feedback, leveled differentiation and engagement while enhancing their mathematical and literacy knowledge and skills.
Computational Thinking for PreK - HEO0286
Participants will discover methods for creating experiences that incorporate computational thinking, algorithms and problem solving. They will experience unplugged coding activities and practice programming directional Bee-Bot robots on learning mats.