Forming early connections to STEM skills in Carthage classrooms

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Some of the youngest students in Carthage are getting a head start on STEM training.

These next-level building blocks could lead to a future as an engineer, scientist or more.

“Tools in it to help the kids learn about engineering and science and how to think in 3D space,” said Emily Beaver, Carthage Pre-K Teacher.

Something you don’t often see in a pre-K classroom.

“We’re excited about the implications for early childhood education. We can see beyond just the science applications, there’s fine motor applications and math early math skills, early patterning skills that we could be incorporating into that as well,” said Beaver.

The Carthage Early Childhood Education Center is launching a new project.

It focuses on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, concepts.

A Webb City business called Kid Spark granted Carthage the kits designed to promote STEM at an early age.

“There’s statistics that are out there that say by third grade students have already formed identities about what they think they’re they are or not capable of doing. And so by helping students build that confidence at a young age we’re creating a much larger pool of children that feel like that they’re capable of engaging in technical type learning like stem,” said Ryan Neden, Kid Spark.

“So it’s possible that we’re missing out on a critical period where kids are deciding that they’re not good at science or math because they’re not being exposed to these skills early enough. And so we’re hoping to try to expose them to some of these skills and get them to build an identity where they think, Oh, maybe I could do this,” said Beaver.

Kid Spark both sells the materials to schools – but also partners with business sponsors to grant other schools the kits in a program that reaches around the world.

“We’re primarily in in the United States, but we do have quite a few programs don’t going down in South America. In fact, I just saw the other day that we have a school using our programs in Africa,” said Neden

The Carthage Early Childhood Center is the first school in the area to start using the STEM sets.

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