Take-home Family STEM Toolkit Program
With the support of The Cummer Family Foundation, NEFSTEM has developed a unique engagement opportunity to familiarize parents to use STEM materials in open-ended activities at home with their preschool-aged children. The preschool Take-home Family STEM Toolkit Program will be implemented during the month of February 2021 at the UNF Preschool, and it will consist of four different toolkits during 4 consecutive weeks. It will expose young children to concepts in STEM using a collection of developmentally appropriate STEM tools and board books.
Parents and children will use these materials to explore, tinker, and play with at home. Each week will have a specific focus tied to different skills that will guide the activities.
Week 1, Feb 1 to 7: Observation
Week 2, Feb 8 to 14: Measurement
- Skill: sort collections
- Vocabulary: observe, senses (touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell) notice, wonder
- What to do: model asking questions and wondering: engaging children in inquiry
- Skill: counting, comparing
- Vocabulary: more, less, long, wide, measure, compare (more than, less than), full, empty
- What to do: teach about measuring items with non-standard units of measurement
Week 3, Feb 15 to 21: Prediction
- Skill: cause and effect, analyzing
- Vocabulary: predict, cause, effect, explain, inference, claims, evidence
- What to do: invite children to begin to formulate inferences about phenomena based on their observations
Week 4, Feb 22 to 28: Recording
- Skill: planning, communicating, organizing data
- Vocabulary: record, observe, sketch, label, data, graphs
- What to do: encourage invented spelling to label or caption sketches. This helps to analyze the sound in words and future reading success
During the implementation of the Preschool Take-home Family STEM Toolkit Program, supplemental support will be provided through the UNF Preschool and NEFSTEM social media. Parents are encouraged to join the closed Facebook group, “Take-home Family STEM Toolkit Program”, to share comments, questions, and information regarding the program. Interactions in the closed group will be monitored for research purposes, which will be detailed upon joining. The UNF Preschool and NEFSTEM invite all participants to follow their social media platforms to engage and interact with their STEM Toolkit Program threads. Families are also encouraged to share their own experiences with the STEM toolkits by sending us pictures or videos to share with our community, or by simply tagging us using the following handlers and hashtags:
#STEMeducation #PrekSTEM #FamilySTEM #STEMathome
Facebook @ UNFcdrc
Suggestions for Sharing Safely
We have provided you with more information on how to share safely below, including five ways to frame your pictures:
- Show the Toolkit Materials; you can share images of the set up or the toolkit materials before, during, or after engaging with the STEM activity.
- Minimal Exposure; images where you can only see the back, hands, or the feet of your children.
- Silhouettes; use backlighting so you can only see silhouettes of the persons in the image.
- Shadows; you can frame only you child or family's shadow to show that they are present in a certain activity or moment.
- Represent Yourself with Objects; you can represent you, and or your children with objects that symbolize you (toys, dolls, shoes, etc.)