Now that pre-K teachers and students have settled into their classrooms, the fun can begin! What’s on their agenda? Science, technology, engineering and math – or in one word, STEM!
Arlington ISD is taking its best-in-class pre-K to a whole new level this year by incorporating STEM into the pre-K 4 curriculum.
But parents, don’t worry. All the basics, like the alphabet and learning to write, numbers, colors, good manners and so much more are all still part of the fun pre-K curriculum.
Learning STEM at an early age gives students lots of opportunities to explore, hone their problem-solving skills, work on their fine and gross motor skills and develop critical thinking.
The innovative STEM curriculum is all about hands-on discovery.
“Children love to learn by playing with hands-on and mind-on activities,” said Amos Elementary pre-K teacher Katy Peterson. “STEM provides just this. It gives intriguing opportunities to see how things work and relate to real-life.”
Parents will notice their child is developing many new skills at pre-K. They’ll be able to help you cook at home by measuring ingredients, learn the proper pronunciation of their shapes and colors and discern how things sink or float in the bathtub. Students will
even learn how to incubate a chicken embryo and so much more!
How did the teachers prepare?
The pre-K teachers start with providing a classroom designed to inspire, ignite curiosity and make the students feel safe.
Jennifer Pettiford’s pre-K 4 classroom at McNutt Elementary is a little learner’s dream. The classroom’s bright and vibrant colors, Russian tortoise and glow fish will spark any little mind’s curiosity. The room also has a safe space for students to visit and relax whenever they’re having a not-so-good day.
And of course, there are endless fun learning activities.
“Hands-on teaching is where we build,” said pre-K 4 teacher Jennifer Pettiford from McNutt Elementary.
Thanks to a special training over the summer, pre-K 4 teachers learned all about how to seamlessly integrate STEM into their fun learning activities and play-based curriculum.
“An effective early childhood STEM curriculum depends on the training and continued professional development of our pre-K 4 teachers,” said Dr. Hildelisa Diaz, Arlington ISD early childhood coordinator. “During STEM training, teachers learned about the teaching philosophy of the integration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the early childhood classroom.”
Pamela Aranda, a new pre-K 4 teacher at Johns Elementary, is thrilled to teach STEM and utilize the STEM labs. Each elementary school has two STEM labs that were built during the 2014 Bond program.
“I am so excited to use STEM in pre-K,” Aranda said. “I am excited to collect clean trash with them and have them use or build animals with our recycled trash. To see how they solve problems and collaborate while using their background knowledge will be so much fun. Yay STEM!”
If you have not signed your 3- or 4-year-old up for pre-K yet, don’t worry, you’re not too late. You can start the registration process online here or visit the school your child will attend. Learn more at aisd.net/prek and feel free to contact the pre-K team at (682) 867-9418 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any of your questions.