Early childhood STEM education during the pandemic

Three young girls gathered around a microscope. One looks through it.
Photo credit: provided from project website, www.stemintheearlyyears.com

Supporting early childhood STEM education during the pandemic (and afterwards): Examining parents’ and early childhood educators’ perceptions of a digital toolkit 

Team members

  • Dr. Todd Milford
  • Dr. Christine Tippett
  • Roxana Yanez Gonzalez
  • Hannah Bradley

About this project

The goal of this project was to create free, high-quality, and evidence-based online science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning resources for early childhood educators (ECEs), caregivers, and parents of young children.

After the resources were developed, the team explored parents’, caregivers’, and ECEs’ perceptions of their online resources and redeveloped the resources to better meet the needs of users according to the feedback they received. By using their research to create free, online resources the team has bridged the research-practice gap by connecting with educators.

What led to this project?

The research team found that COVID-19 continues to impact early childhood programs. The team also found that both ECEs and parents often rely on free online learning resources, but that many free online STEM resources are of low quality.

In order to create their resources, the researchers used social constructivist theory and play-based learning and literature on STEM in early childhood and Pinterest.

What did the researchers do?

 There were three phases of the project: 

Phase 1

The researchers developed the STEM learning experience resources and created a Pinterest page and website.

Phase 2

Next, the researchers used questionnaires to collect information about ECEs’, caregivers’ and parents’ experiences using the resources. The team used thematic analysis and descriptive statistics to examine the information they collected.

Phase 3

Finally, the research team redeveloped the resources incorporating the feedback they received.

Web resources

STEM in the Early Years website

STEM in the Early Years Pinterest Page