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Head Start STEM meeting links curriculum to family engagement

On March 19, 2015, the 2nd annual Massachusetts Head Start STEM Exhibition was held at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Conference Center. The event, which was attended by representatives of Head Start grantees from throughout the state, was presented by the Massachusetts Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Office in collaboration with the Massachusetts Head Start grantees and the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. Exhibitors from Early Head Start and Head Start grantees demonstrated home-based and center based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum which linked to the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework and included family engagement activities to support promotion of STEM in the home environment.

A keynote speech, A Natural Start: Planting the Seeds of STEM, was delivered by Kristen Scopinich, Director of Education at Mass Audubon. Following the keynote, there was a presentation by four teachers from Action for Boston Community Development Head Start and the classroom coach from the Tufts University RISE (Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering) Project.

Community representatives provided exhibits which highlighted the work which they do to support integration of STEM in early childhood education. The exhibitors represented Mass Audubon, iRobot Corporation, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Tufts University RISE Project, and MA Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook and Wildlife Sanctuary.

Throughout this event, participants had the opportunity to explore, investigate, examine and inquire at the exhibitor’s tables. Each person received a resource binder which contained all of the exhibitor’s comprehensive lesson plans which could be shared with the education staff at individual programs. 

“At the conclusion of the event, the verbal and written feedback was extremely positive. Participants expressed their excitement about sharing the STEM information and resources with their colleagues and implementing ideas with children and families”, said UMass Donahue’s Maureen McDonald who served as the chaired the event’s planning.

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