Children construct knowledge of the world through exploring, experimenting, and forming nascent "theories" about how the world works. However, national efforts in math and science rarely focus on children below third grade, and almost never below kindergarten. Clearly, more can be done in the early years to take advantage of children's natural curiosity and lay a foundation for later STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning.
The Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education supports early childhood educators through the creation of CEESTEM, or the Center for Early Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. On the CEESTEM website, educators can find hands-on, interactive classroom activities that encourage young children to develop and use scientific inquiry processes to explore and better understand their environments. CEESTEM addresses the needs of students (and their teachers) in an age group that has received little attention from the STEM community. In addition to laying a foundation that will contribute to increasing the number of students who choose to pursue careers in STEM fields, the work of CEESTEM also contributes to raising the scientific literacy of all students, including those who do not choose careers in STEM fields.