SchemaPlay (STEM)L² is an initiative concerned with supporting integrated approaches to Language and Literacy (L²) in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in early childhood education.
Sixty-four percent of engineering employers recently reported that the shortage of engineers in the UK is a threat to their business, and it has been estimated that enabling women to meet their full potential in such work could add many millions or even trillions to annual GDP. SchemaPlay resaerch shows that one of the reasons that so many STEM gender initiatives have failed in the past is because they have not been implemented anything like early enough, and they haven’t included enough communication and language content to convince girls that they have anything to offer them.
Girls outperform boys in Communication, Langauge and Literacy from the early years to GCSE and this achievement gap has remained stable over the last ten years. The underachievement of boys growing up in relative poverty is even more acute. Boys do do much better at, and they enjoy STEM activities.
Early Childhood STEM education does not work for girls because there is not enough Communication, Language and Literacy in it to interest them. Early childhood Communication, Language and Literacy education doesn’t work for boys because there is not enough STEM to give it credibility.
The Solution is to integrate Communication, Language and Literacy provisions with STEM.
Schemaplay is currently working on the development of resources and training to address these issues with (STEM)L2 , an initiative aimed at early childhood (age 3-6). STEM “i-Can” cards are being produced to support early childhood educators in providing instruction (Sample). It is intended that these illustrated cards, y providing instructions on how to investigate, make, fix, join or decorate constructions, will be accessible to both the teachers and the children, and empower both in terms of STEM, Communications and Language skills. A wider range of relevant socio-dramatic play resources are also being sourced for promotion in preschools.