Thursday, April 2, 2015

Preschool Spring STEM Program


Our guest blogger today from the class is Patty May, who hails from Bedford IN and serves a population of 13,000 at her library. With a background in kindergarten and preschool teaching she brings mad skillz to her work as an Early Literacy Specialist at the library.

This preschool program is a STEM hands-on program. The extra value to this program is that we can set up the stations in the preschool play area after the program. This will be held in our program room here at the Library. We can utilize part of the elements for a stealth program.

Book : First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seege

Play: with egg shakers
To make egg shakers I will use plastic Easter eggs donated last Easter. I will fill each egg with something with a different size and shape so they will make different sounds. (rice, beans, sand etc) I will make sure that the eggs don’t come open with book tape. For this activity the children will get eggs at random to shake while singing and dancing.

Sing (to the tune of We Wish You a Merry Christmas): Lets all do a little shaking (jumping, twirling, bending) for spring time is here.

Book: Wake up it’s Spring by Lisa Campbell Ernst

Flannelboard:  I will make flannel pieces with the things in the in the book (egg/chicken, tadpole/frog, seed/flower, caterpillar/ butterfly, word/ book, paint/picture). Let the children retell the story by matching the first and the “then” pieces as a group.

Book: If your hoppy by April Dulley Sayer ( this is a just for fun book it is not a “science” book; however, by the third book your group may be getting antsy and this book encourages fun and moving )

Activity Centers

Center 1: (Play) shaker eggs- this is why we put different things in the eggs, the children can play with the eggs and discover the sounds that they make.

Center 2: (Talk) The flannel board, this is a chance for the children to retell the story. It is also a chance for the children to practice sequencing 

Center 3: (Write) craft table- decorate cut- out paper eggs. Provide crayons, glue, and anything fun to glue onto an egg such as feathers, pom poms, rick rack.

Center 4: (Play) Egg balancing game- provide several plastic eggs and several different kitchen utensils and two baskets. The children will try to move the eggs from one basket to the other with the utensils. I would not expect to have more than 15 children in this program and with the children at different centers two baskets should be enough; however, I would provide another set for every 5 children that I plan to use the center at one time.

Center 5:(Read) books about chicken, egg, and other animals that lay eggs. Wrap it up if children lose interest or at 2:50 (we may have a few families leave before clean up if they have children at the out of town schools.)

Our parents stay with our preschool programs, I expect to use parent power for the centers, so only one staff member is needed to implement this program.  I would like to begin the program at 2:00 pm. This time is good because parents of preschoolers with older children will be able to come to the program and then pick up their older child from school.

This program will be a good fit for our library because we will be tapping into a base that we already know and a format that is close to what they are used to. We do a very good job of presenting STEM and STEAM activities to the grade school children. I would like to begin to extend those activities to our preschool children.

Why should we invest time and money on Stem and Steam for preschool? We use Every Child Ready To Read to remind our parents that children learn a lot about reading before they begin to school and that children learn to read as they talk, sing, read, write and play. We can remind our parents that children learn through all of their experiences in science and math as well.

In an article published in theSchool Library Journal Oct 1, 2013 Amy Koester writes the following:
“In a public library, STEAM means creating opportunities for children to explore and experiment. A program on a well-loved chapter book is great, and topics such as railroads and bridges are reliably popular among young patrons. But what about a program demonstrating that bridges aren’t just the roadway extensions we take for granted? What if that program covered different types of bridges, along with video footage of a bridge collapsing, and a hands-on opportunity for kids to build bridges from dried pasta and then test their strength? Suddenly kids are deeply engaged—and curious. They genuinely don’t know what will happen to the materials in front of them, but they want to find out. They leave the program with more knowledge and interest than they might have had if they’d just read about bridges. That’s the power of STEAM: To bring together all the facets of the things we find interesting in the world in a way that’s tactile and packs educational punch.

We will be helping our families and so our community by building a more educated base. This is a part of our strategic plan: “our library will build excitement for education and learning” and requires only a slight change in focus to execute.

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