Brief | June 7, 2014

STEM Workforce Starts with Early Education

Developing science, technology, engineering and math proficiency starts even before elementary school

Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African­-American woman to orbit the earth, knew she wanted to be a scientist when she was five years old. Fortunately, Mae’s teachers nurtured her interest in science. How many more five year olds can we encourage today to become tomorrow’s scientific leaders?

While it’s true that the U.S. needs more scientists now, Americans also must build the pipeline for the future. And a growing body of research suggests that developing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) proficiency starts much earlier than high school, middle school, or even elementary school.

The path to STEM education starts early, before kindergarten, and we need to engage throughout the education process, not just at the college level.

­­CEO of DuPont, Ellen Kullman

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Evidence is mounting about the importance of teaching math in preschool and kindergarten…if children don’t have good instruction and effective teachers in early grades, they are more likely to struggle later when they face more complicated concepts.”

This report makes the case for American businesses to support early childhood programs that build interest in STEM through play­-based activities appropriate for young children.


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