STEM Advantages for Preschool and Kindergarten
Updated: Feb 1
Across the country, the shortage of STEM workers is a growing crisis. The shortage is caused by the mismatch between supply and demand. The mismatch means that jobs that require STEM skills are not filling up as quickly as they are becoming available. Some of the hardest-to-fill positions are art and design, counselors, architects, financial specialists, and health care practitioners.
Educate to Innovate is the president's initiative to address the STEM crisis. This campaign is driven by mostly private-sector funding and leverages the commitment of top business leaders to invest in STEM education. The campaign also leverages the federal government's assets, including federally managed public lands, scientific, and engineering staff, and data. These resources can be leveraged to foster a "culture of STEM" in the public and create STEM careers for the future.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has been a central player in the STEM effort. The agency has a mission to support programs that improve the quality of student learning and prepare students for global competitiveness. It provides financial aid to students who are studying STEM fields and works to increase the participation of historically underrepresented groups in the STEM workforce. It also funds development grants to develop informal STEM education opportunities.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides biomedical research and training programs. The agency oversees fellowship programs, postdoctoral research, and traineeships. It also manages the National Institute of Mental Health, which supports research on the effects of stress and depression. It also has a program to support mission-related science. It is working with other agencies to improve STEM educational opportunities.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a key component of the STEM education strategy, which includes the sharing of evidence-based approaches. It will also lead the effort to improve informal STEM learning opportunities. It will work with its partners to develop materials that are aligned with classroom learning and will be made available to the public.
Change the Equation was established by more than 100 CEOs and education organizations to help solve the STEM crisis. The organization has set up state-by-state networks to address the lack of STEM talent. It has also created a nongovernmental organization, Change the Equation, to coordinate efforts. The group has developed a set of principles to guide its work.
The NSTC is currently developing a federal STEM education strategy. The strategy will focus on three main areas: integrating STEM into existing programs, improving the STEM workforce, and assessing the impact of engagement experiences. It will also focus on understanding the connections between inspiration and excitement.
The STEM problem is a complex one. Solutions need to be found in the government, academia, and the private sector. These sectors have specific assets, expertise, and missions, which have led to an uncoordinated Federal investment in STEM education. In addition, states and localities have the power to prioritize STEM. For example, Seattle has a severe computer occupation shortage and Charlotte has a high demand for STEM professionals.
The benefits of STEM in the preschool classroom are numerous and far-reaching. Kids who have a solid foundation in STEM skills will perform well in their later school years and have the problem-solving skills they'll need to face a technologically unpredictable future.
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