RISE UP/GEAR UP

Getting kids interested in STEM early

Feeling they are part of a group increased preschoolers’ interest, success in STEM

Cultivating young children’s interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics has become a leading educational priority, as experts predict that many future jobs will require substantial math and technology skills.

Early education in STEM topics, as they’re known, is critical for boosting later success in school and attracting students to occupations in those fields. But little has been done to optimize STEM curriculum for preschoolers or help children seek out and enjoy STEM tasks.

Now, a new study by University of Washington researchers shows that adding a basic social cue — making children feel like they’re part of a group — increased preschoolers’ engagement in STEM.

“At 4 and 5 years of age, social groups start to matter more to children and begin to influence who they are and what they’re interested in,” said lead author Allison Master, a research scientist at the UW’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.

Read full article at UW Today