The focus of year one of this three year grant was Force & Motion. Young learners explored such scientific concepts as push & pull, gravity, velocity, speed, and more. During a six week session of story times, toddler and pre-school aged youngsters had the opportunity to have hands-on learning experiences that related directly to the concepts of Force and Motion.
Force and Motion investigations weren't limited to younger learners. School aged children got in on the fun as well. Monthly STEM nights features such challenges as building marble runs and baking soda and vinegar fueled bottle rockets.
On Monday November 14th, 6 curious youngsters gathered in the activity room of the FML. Little did they know they were about to embark on an mysterious and challenging adventure. The theme for this months STEM night, was Invisible Inks and Codes and participants were encouraged to take on the roles of spies working together to create a safe way to transmit secret messages. After choosing their Spy names, the group was given several different liquids to use as ink. They were able to test each type and then had to brainstorm ideas of how to revel their secret messages. As the photos show, there was plenty of hands on discovery and connections being made.
The Vermont Early Literacy Initiative- Science, Technology and Engineering grant program is an exciting opportunity that only 26 select libraries in Vermont were chosen to participate in. This excerpt from the VELI-STEM web page will further explain its purpose.
VELI-STEM will strengthen the ability of Vermont libraries to provide local opportunities for young children to explore and learn about science, technology, engineering and math. Not only is this important for children's own personal understanding of the world around them, but this kind of informal learning fosters curiosity and the excitement of discovery.
Vermont librarians will develop and implement new library practices and programs that promote science inquiry and STEM learning for children, their parents, and childcare providers.
Once again, Vermont is taking the lead! This project is designed as a national model for small and rural libraries and the grant includes funds for training librarians who will visit Vermont from 22 other states. Library leaders across the country recognize Vermont public libraries for their innovations in early literacy, maker spaces, and other STEM-related programs and VELI-STEM will reinforce that recognition.
Why Science for Young Children?
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) affirms that learning science and engineering practices in the early years fosters children’s curiosity and enjoyment in exploring the world around them and lays the foundation for a progression of science learning in K–12 settings and throughout their entire lives.
We know that young children:
• Have a natural fascination and wonder about the natural world in which they live
• Have the capacity to engage in scientific practices and develop understanding at a conceptual level
• Are active, self-motivated learners who learn best from personal experience rather than from decontextualized linguistic input
• Develop science skills and knowledge in both formal and informal settings by engaging in experiential (hands-on) learning
• Construct knowledge through participation with others in activities that foster experimentation, problem solving, and social interaction
• Need multiple and varied opportunities to engage in science exploration and discovery
Adults play a central and important role in helping young children learn science. As young children participate in ongoing science investigations they:
• Explore objects, materials, and events in new and different ways
• Learn and use vocabulary when they explore and talk together
• Cooperate and share while working with others
• Make models and drawings of what they’re doing
• Participate in focused discussion about what they observe
• Ask questions and solve problems: the more experiences they have, the more they can ask new questions
Hello! My name is Sacha Krawczyk and I have been Fletcher Memorial Libraries Youth Services Librarian since 2014. Prior to that I worked in the education field for close to 15 years. Reading is my favorite past time and my natural curiosity about the world around me affords me the love of learning and sharing my knowledge with others. I am very excited to be a part of the VELI-STEM program and to have to opportunity to bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education to the library!