- A new report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop titled "STEM Starts Early" details the importance of math performance on future classroom success, District Administration reports.
- The report notes improvements in literacy and language tasks like recognizing letters and understanding spoken words among students using McGraw-Hill's Building Blocks curriculum, in addition to noting growth in executive function among those with early STEM exposure.
- Weaving STEM exposure into pre-K, however, will necessitate additional support and training for educators, more funding aimed toward earlier STEM learning, and efforts to clarify to the public that STEM learning opportunities aren't just for older students or those already performing well in those subjects, District Administration reports.
Research continues to show that preschool benefits student performance in later grades across the board. In January, it was reported that PISA scores showed improved math scores for students who had attended preschool between the ages of 3 and 5, and a 2017 study from Child Trends found that pre-K programs that include math education could close a gap that sees Latino students start kindergarten an average of 3 months behind their white peers in math.
While no one is suggesting students should be able to understand Boolean equations or code a basic web page by kindergarten or first grade, getting them started on thinking computationally can begin early. Basic physics concepts like the forces acting on a swing or a ball can be introduced through play activities, for example, helping them to more easily connect the dots when more complex lessons arrive in later grades.