ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers CUR128: Engineering Explorations in Early Childhood as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users September 1-30, 2022.
Young children are naturally curious about the world around them. Educators often focus on exploring children′s questions about the natural environment in preschool and early childhood science curricula that explores plants, animals, and the weather. Today, the environment that surrounds children represents a mix of natural and human-made elements. This natural inclination for curiosity, inquiry, and investigation is not only the cornerstone of early childhood development but is also a key component of thinking like an engineer.
It is helpful for children to know about the many opportunities that exist in the field of science. In addition to teaching children about community helpers, it is important for educators to tell them about jobs they could pursue in different areas like civil engineer, structural engineer, electrical engineer, and environmental engineer. To be a successful engineer, one must adopt a particular way of thinking about the world. Thinking like an engineer requires people to truly understand others′ needs and seek solutions to meet those needs. With practice, children can learn to apply design thinking to different areas of their lives.
The pillars of empathy, ideation, and experimentation are perfectly aligned with children′s skills in early childhood. Thinking about others′ needs, coming up with new ideas, and experimenting with materials are key features of early learning curricula. Some may say that being an engineer is similar to the way young children interact with the world. However, these skills are immature and require lots of practice to develop fully. Teaching children how to think and work like an engineer can be a valuable strategy that will prepare them for the workforce and help them become better members of the broader community.
One of the significant long-term benefits of early exposure to engineering is to ensure that groups underrepresented in engineering fields get equal access to this content and equal opportunities to gain confidence and interest in these fields beginning in early childhood. Early exposure can negate stereotypes and provide children with equal opportunities. Research has shown that boys and girls develop different occupational orientations during early childhood, influencing their later career choices.
Basic stereotypes begin to develop in children around two to three years of age. Despite this, most STEM interventions for engaging girls and young women in engineering happen in middle and high school, often after many girls and young women have decided they aren′t interested in these fields.
This course provides participants with an understanding of how to support young children’s (PreK-2nd grade) learning of engineering and the engineering design process in hands-on, playful, and creative ways. Participants will explore foundational facts about different types of engineers and engineering and learn the Engineering Design Process steps. It will provide examples of teaching and pedagogical approaches, materials, and tools that can be used to foster fun and engaging engineering explorations in early childhood. Participants will also explore best practices for teaching engineering, where to find engineering curriculum resources, and strategies for developing an engineering curriculum for young children.
“An early introduction to engineering can encourage all students, especially girls and minorities typically underrepresented in engineering, to consider engineering as a career,” says Maria C. Taylor, President of CCEI. “There are so many foundational elements that can be learned in early childhood that encourage an interest in engineering principles.”
CUR128: Engineering Explorations in Early Childhood is a two-hour, intermediate-level course and grants 0.2 IACET CEU upon successful completion. This course is also offered in Spanish as ESP_CUR128. Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as individual or block hours through CCEI online enrollment.
For more information, visit www.cceionline.edu or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EDT
ChildCare Education Institute
ChildCare Education Institute® provides high-quality, distance education certificates and child care training programs in an array of child care settings, including preschool centers, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, nanny care, online daycare training and more. Over 150 English and Spanish child care training courses are available online to meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also has online certification programs that provide the coursework requirement for national credentials including the CDA, Director and Early Childhood Credentials. CCEI, a Council for Professional Recognition CDA Gold Standard™ training provider, is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).