Seeds to STEM: Cultivating Early Nutrition, Literacy, Numeracy, and STEM Knowledge and Skills in Teachers, 3-to-5-Year-Olds, and Families through a Bilingual Asset-Based Curriculum in Two Major Cities

  • Project Description

    Seeds to STEM proposes a bilingual, culturally appropriate program that educates low-income black and Latino children ages 3 to 5, their families, and preschool teachers about childhood nutrition, early STEM and literacy, and kindergarten readiness. It has an innovative focus on food access and serves populations in under-accredited early childhood care and learning centers, including home-based childcare providers. Seeds to STEM will be piloted in two major cities (Philadelphia, PA and Los Angeles, CA), and its three product deliverables will be distributed nationwide via a website and multiple professional dissemination networks.

  • Abstract

    Seeds to STEM (S2S) proposes a bilingual program that educates urban children ages 3 to 5, their families, and preschool teachers about the importance of childhood nutrition, early STEM and literacy, and kindergarten readiness in order to address national needs to diversify the STEM education pipeline and reduce disproportionate rates of poverty, hunger, ill health, and low educational achievement among families living in dense cityscapes. This SEPA project has an innovative focus on food access and families enrolled in under-accredited early learning centers, including home-based childcare. These low-cost options, often chosen by families who work but cannot afford or do not have access to high quality early childhood learning and care resources, need to be better incorporated into preschool education improvement initiatives. We hypothesize that a research- and asset-based approach to simultaneously educating preschool children, their teachers, and families will promote early STEM and literacy learning, encourage healthy eating habits, and increase kindergarten readiness among low income families living in two major cities — Philadelphia, PA, and Los Angeles, CA. Three product deliverables will be nationally distributed by the end of a SEPA grant period via a project website and PI connections to professional networks. In addition to project participants, nine museums have appended Support Letters to this application. (1) A bilingual inquiry-based curriculum about early childhood nutrition and school readiness that integrates STEM, literacy, and numeracy learning through experimental activities growing food inside classrooms, urban gardens, and family homes; (2) Professional development and in-class coaching for under-accredited pre-K educators including, as an innovation, home-based childcare providers; and (3) Programs that empower families to learn together, understand kindergarten readiness, and be more connected to nutrition resources in their communities.

Project Audience

Pre-K children, their families, and pre-school teachers

Subjects Addressed

Childhood nutrition, early STEM and literacy, kindergarten readiness