Cherry Preschool has supported the development of a mixed-age classroom devoted to a STEM curriculum since 2019. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Our STEM Preschool curriculum explores these areas of study in a play-based setting, supporting a child’s early math development among many other skills. We create opportunities for children to dive deeply into their play in ways that nurture creativity, cooperation and problem-solving skills. They often get to make something that is bigger than just their part. The length of time we study something will depend on interest. In our circle time and project time we:
- Ask –define the problem
- Imagine – brainstorm possible solutions
- Plan – think, sketch, label
- Create – make a model and test it
- Improve – adjust the designs to make it better. We like mistakes because we learn from them.
- Journal – draw a picture of a project or process and dictate what it is they are drawing to one of the teachers. This picture and journal is then shared at circle time with the rest of the class.
Examples of STEM activities we have done at Cherry Preschool:
- Observe pollinators in our neighborhood
- Make mint ice cream from the plant we grew
- Build and launch water bottle rockets with baking soda and vinegar
- Weigh and measure rocks collected in the park
- Build a circuit board to fly a propeller into the air or turn on a light
- Make a flower press
- Build a bridge from blocks that holds 100 pennies
- Sketch a building design, build it out of loose parts, and create a city on the rug with all of our classmate’s buildings
- Build a car from Legos
- Measure our plants from sprouts to flowering plants
- Discover the patterns in the calendar
- Count the number of days we’ve been in school each month
Our story time selections, both fact and fiction, compliment our explorations. Free play toys and games available in the classroom often reinforce what we are studying in a different way. Our makers table is a space to create something during free play. And, while all of these elements come together to support a STEM curriculum, they also support the fundamental focus of Cherry Preschool; you can’t say you can’t play. We are all friends at Cherry Preschool. Come and join us!