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Talking about preschool STEM

Posted on November 1, 2016 at 6:00 am

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By Gwendolyn Haley

STEM is a hot topic right now. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields are the fastest growing sector of the economy, and businesses in Washington state are among the leading employers in these fields. As a parent, I want to make sure that my daughters are aware of all the opportunities available to them and to foster love of learning in all subjects. By beginning with our preschoolers, we can create a solid foundation for their future. The best part? The library has made it free, easy, and fun with ‘Ready for School with STEM’ kits that you can check out.

I recently checked out a ‘Ready for School with STEM’ kit on the topic of construction . My youngest daughter and I had a ball using the construction materials to build some sturdy towers, which we then tried to knock down by blowing on them, using our lungs and the hair dryer. As we played, we talked about how she would design her buildings, hypothesized about which materials would stand in the wind and why. Afterwards, we read The Three Little Pigs and another story from the kit. My daughter didn’t realize that she was learning about making hypotheses and designing a test for them or about the various physical properties of the building materials.

This year, Spokane County Library District received a grant from Thrive Washington to create STEM kits on a range of preschool topics, with materials and books to support the lesson. The topics include math, wind, water, dirt, construction, and dinosaurs. The activities are short—just 10 to 30 minutes. If you’re short on time, try the Quick Start lessons. If you want a challenge, try the Deeper Dive ones. You’ll also find vocabulary words and open-ended questions to help start conversations with your preschooler.

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The kits are available for checkout at your local library—look for the bright red bags in the children’s area. You can reserve them online too by searching ‘Ready for School with STEM’ in the online catalog. The lesson plans for the kits are available on our webpage: Ready for School with STEM.

The kits have been developed with the help of these great organizations: Spokane County Library District, NEW ESD 101, Spokane Public Library, Mobius Science Center, Spokane STEM, Spokane Public Schools, Herzog Family Center, Community-Minded Enterprises, and Rural Resources Community Action and Valley School District in Stevens County.

Gwendolyn Haley

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