100Kin10 Announces New Grantees in Early-Childhood STEM

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — January 24, 2017 3 min read
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100Kin10, a national nonprofit focused on recruiting, preparing, and supporting teachers in science, technology, engineering, and math, announced today the winners of $2 million in grants for projects focused on STEM in early-childhood education.

The Early Childhood STEM Learning Grants are more evidence of a growing interest in STEM in the early years from policymakers, researchers, and funders. The White House announced a set of initiatives related to early-childhood education and STEM last year, and earlier this month, a group of researchers and experts in early childhood released a report calling for more training, standards, and support in early childhood.

100Kin10 itself was founded after President Obama called for recruiting, training, and retaining 100,000 more STEM teachers within a decade in his 2011 State of the Union address.

“We tend to think of STEM as a specialized subject in high school or college,” said Talia Milgrom-Elcott, the executive director of 100Kin10. But if you wait to try to close gaps or inspire interest in the subjects until middle or high school, she said, “you’re already losing so many kids.”

100Kin10 asked prospective grantees to create projects addressing a challenge: How might we support teachers to create active STEM learning environments in grades P-3 in schools across the country?”

Supporting teachers is important, Milgrom-Elcott said, because “most teachers are now in schools. There is no hiring-firing plan that gets you to more teachers than are currently in schools. So if you really want to change what’s happening, you have to go to people who are in schools.”

She said most teachers had never been taught STEM in a more hands-on way as young people and didn’t learn how to teach that way in their training programs. Many of the grants center around introducing teachers to these active STEM learning experiences.

100Kin10 has run similar grant programs for computer science and technology education and will run an upcoming program focused on experimentation in the classroom. Milgrom-Elcott said that the grantees will collaborate and share their experiences, challenges, and findings with each other.

Here’s a list of the grant winners, from the press release:

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.