Head Start, which serves over one million vulnerable children each year, has embraced projects to promote STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) in early education. For example, the National Head Start Association (NHSA) has developed a partnership with Lakeshore Learning Materials (“Recycle Your Way to STEAM”) to provide easy and fun activities that introduce young children to STEAM.

Play time

This joint effort to introduce young children to 21st century skills was highlighted at the White House Summit celebrating innovation in STEM work. “Recycle Your Way to STEAM” combines imaginative play with problem-solving and critical thinking to introduce STEAM concepts to Head Start children across the country. The initiative includes guides for engaging, hands-on activities that invite children to build anything they can imagine – using cardboard, plastic bottles and other recyclable materials.

“Thousands of our nation’s children have already used these activities to prepare for bright futures in the fields of STEAM.”

Simple and child-directed, the activities introduce STEAM concepts in an age-appropriate way that engages children’s interest in exploration of the world around them. This initiative is also an important tool for educators, as it is critical our early learning educators not only understand the importance of STEAM learning but also know what inquiry-based science actually looks like for children ages three to five.

MEET STEM: Through carefully coordinated activites, children are introduced to STEM in a way that engages, not alienates, them.

Wise investments

With a goal of reaching one million Head Start children, thousands of our nation’s children have already used these activities to prepare for bright futures in the fields of STEAM. “Recycle Your Way to STEAM” is another tool in the Head Start tool belt to provide a high-quality early learning environment that fosters the inherent desire children have to build, discover and question the world around them. Head Start is embracing a commitment to early STEAM learning as a critical investment in the future of the nation’s children, especially for the youngest and most vulnerable, as well as the future of the nation’s economy.