January 10, 2018-Berkeley County First Steps has launched a year-long partnership with the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, a non-profit located in downtown Charleston, to train early childhood teachers to provide high-quality instruction in science, math and the arts.
Through this collaboration, educators have created the Berkeley County STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Leadership Cohort with $56,000 that Berkeley First Steps receives from annual appropriations from the South Carolina Legislature and a $1,000 grant from the Magnolia Plantation Foundation, the non-profit arm of Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.
Adrienne Troy-Frazier, Berkeley County First Steps’ executive director, said, “The project will support early childhood educators in creating hands-on, interactive classroom activities that encourage young children to develop and use scientific inquiry processes to explore and better understand their environments.” Berkeley County First Steps is an early childhood organization with a mission to ensure that young children are prepared for kindergarten and beyond.
The leadership cohort will help five early childhood teachers understand early STEAM in a new way, improve their quality of teaching, and use more and higher-quality math and science talk, Troy-Frazier explained. In its first year, the program is expected to reach 50 to 60 children ages three to five, she added.
Nichole Myles, executive director of the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, said, “We believe this partnership is tremendously important for the tri-county area. The Children’s Museum wants to build collective impact in the community and, by helping teachers, we’re ensuring they pass down the same hands-on, play-based learning to all students that we support and teach at the Children’s Museum.”
Berkeley County First Steps has contracted the Children’s Museum to provide professional development and coaching to teachers. Teachers will receive classroom coaching to facilitate positive changes in children, including increased understanding of math and science concepts, the use of math and science language to stimulate interest and engagement in STEAM.
Troy-Frazier said that research shows that giving children exposure to quality, hands-on STEAM learning opportunities is an important predictor of a child’s school success.
Denise M. Stanley Baker operates one of the top-rated family child care homes in Berkeley County. Her facilities is one of the programs participating in the STEAM cohort. “I think the cohort is needed because we can cultivate our preschool children’s interest in STEAM. STEAM is the future. The United States is behind other countries, so we need to catch our children now and give them a STEAM foundation. One of my 3 year olds is making drones using Legos! As a family home provider I am excited that my children have the opportunity to such as awesome program.”
For more information about Berkeley County First Steps please visit www.berkeleyfirststeps.org
About the Children’s Musuem of the Lowcountry:
The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization with a mission to engage young children’s potential by inviting families of all backgrounds to explore environments and experiences that spark imagination and stimulate curiosity through the power of play. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $12 per person, $10 for SC Residents and free for children less than 12 months of age. For more information, please visit our website, exploreCML.org.