Preschoolers to tackle STEM classes
June 2, 2015
Inquiring minds want to know how the world works, even the young minds of preschool-age children. IUPUI’s Center for Young Children aims to help those children fill some of those “information gaps” beginning this fall with a new program in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
“Our campus has excellent STEM-related resources for college-aged students, and more are emerging all the time,” said Kathy Risacher of Auxiliary Services, who helped develop this initiative the Center for Young Children. “We felt that children’s innate curiosity would flourish and grow with exposure to these valuable campus resources.”
That’s why Auxiliary Services and Center for Young Children are seeking a qualified STEM teacher to lead the unique program in the fall semester in two multi-age classrooms that will be devoted to the STEM initiative. The center will continue to offer four traditional multi-age preschool classrooms.
“Children are naturally curious,” Risacher said. “They want to know why things happen, how things happen, how things fit together. We believe this is a great time to harness the power of ‘why’ and give our children some basic answers to the questions they already ask.”
The new program is designed for children ages 3 to 6 and will allow the center’s teachers to engage the preschool students in the events and activities that intrigue them, and to share with them the scientific inquiry methods that will help them throughout their academic lives.
“This program will allow young children to benefit from the people and schools at IUPUI, one of the nation’s premier research universities,” Risacher added. “The faculty, laboratories and learning centers based on our campus are just steps away from the Center for Young Children, and will help the children experience the excitement, wonder and awe at the science that shapes the world around them.”
The Center for Young Children’s plans call for students enrolled in the STEM-focused classrooms to experience field trips on campus and off, to Skype with college students, faculty and researchers in IUPUI labs and classrooms, take nature preserve walks, gain experience in classroom computer labs, and take part in age-appropriate experiments using scientific tools.
Campus resources include potential collaborations with university architects, labs focused on robotics, renewable energy and driving simulators, medical and brain research facilities, the Nanotechnology Discovery Academy, the Android Science Center and the IUPUI greenhouse.