Tay, Juliana; Salazar, Alissa; and Lee, Hyeseong, "Parental Perceptions of STEM Enrichment for Young Children" (2017). Department of Education Studies Graduate Student Publications. Paper 1.
Date of this Version
enrichment program, STEM, early childhood, elementary education, gifted children
Most pre-kindergarten and kindergarten curricula are challenging and engaging, but few are strongly grounded in STEM education. In this study, the authors examined parental perception (N=55) of the influences of a Saturday STEM enrichment program in one university center on pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students and their attitudes towards STEM learning. Using survey data collected from 2013 – 2016, the authors studied parental comments about benefits, drawbacks, and memorable moments they observed from their children’s experiences during the program. These comments were analyzed qualitatively using NVivo and three main themes were developed. The themes were children’s reactions to STEM learning, meeting the needs of young gifted learners, and learning beyond the classroom. These themes reinforced current literature in the field showing young children’s need for STEM education. Sadly, few opportunities for STEM-focused programming for young children exist.