Early engineering: A developmentally appropriate curriculum for young children
Aikaterini Bagiati, Purdue University, United States
Purdue University . Awarded
Engineering education for the pre-college years is a developing academic discipline that emanates from the need to understand and improve the ways that engineers are formally educated. To date, there are no curricula available that incorporate engineering at a preschool level. The focus of this study is on the development of an early engineering curriculum for a preschool classroom which will complement the traditional emphasis on developing basic literacy, numeracy, and science along with social, emotional, and motor skills, while retaining high fidelity of the early engineering content addressed.
The current work presents a qualitative case study examining the developmental appropriateness of the early engineering curriculum and reports on its effect on children's learning and on the teacher's experience while implementing the early engineering curriculum in class for three months. The setting for this study is a suburban university campus-based child care program in the Midwestern U.S. The participants are 11 children, 10 boys and one girl, their parents, and the classroom teacher. The children's learning is divided into the categories of knowledge, skills, dispositions, and feelings; subcategories of these four main categories are also discussed. The findings support the developmental appropriateness of the early engineering curriculum developed, along with the feasibility and the necessity of the implementation. The teacher's experience is analyzed based on factors reported by the teacher and the researcher that either facilitated or hindered the implementation process. These factors included multiple stakeholders, namely, the teacher, the children, the parents, the school administration, and the curriculum developer. The factors are intended to be used as guides to form future elaborate versions of the early engineering curriculum. Questions regarding the optimum systematic assessment method for this curriculum are also raised as points of future research.
Bagiati, A. Early engineering: A developmentally appropriate curriculum for young children. Ph.D. thesis, Purdue University.
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