As a leader in early childhood education, the Children’s Learning Institute (CLI) set a goal to significantly increase the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) materials available to educators throughout the state. Over the past year, faculty and content developers worked diligently to increase the quantity and scope of STEM activities included in the CIRCLE Activity Collection. The collection is an extensive library of classroom lessons freely available for use by Texas prekindergarten to grade 2 teachers and administrators.
Believing that quality instruction in early childhood focuses on play-based learning combining teacher-directed and child-directed activities, CLI set out to develop the first child-facing STEM activities. A partnership was formed with PBS allowing CLI to select and use video from their extensive library that includes STEM content presented in a child-friendly and entertaining manner.
The result of this collaboration is the development of 20 child-directed, interactive lessons by CLI. Designed around selections from PBS LearningMedia, the activities teach foundational STEM skills known to be important for 3- to 6-year-olds. Set in a virtual laboratory setting, the CIRCLE STEM Lab integrates the video segments with hands-on activities to be completed by the child. Each activity is designed to facilitate independent learning by individual students.
Combining multiple learning principles in a single activity could yield exciting results. Used in conjunction with independent learning by students, teachers could maximize limited instructional time. With positive outcomes and additional funding, CLI hopes to continue the collaboration with PBS.
Teachers, share the CIRCLE STEM Lab Family Guide with families when you send these activities home!