SciMath-DLL: Professional development to improve early childhood STEM education for all children, including dual language learners
The SciMath-DLL professional development model for early childhood educators aims to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for all children, including dual language learners (DLLs). The model was initially designed and co-developed along with educators and experts in early childhood STEM development, learning, teaching, professional development, and in working with DLLs. Our three-pronged approach unites supports at three levels: individual (reflective coaching), small groups of colleagues (professional learning communities), and district-wide (interactive workshops). Hands-on activities center on model lesson plans that illustrate our curriculum-independent approach to teaching STEM to young children in ways that teachers can immediately apply in their classrooms. Qualitative results from our design and development project suggest that participation improves teachers’ practice around STEM, self-confidence, and attitudes towards STEM; coaches’ content knowledge and coaching skill; and children’s language and STEM skills. Our current project involves development of online supports and a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the causal effects of our model on teachers, coaches, and children.
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