Engage Young Learners in STEM Experiences with JASON Early Childhood

Preparing Students with Lifetime Skills and Mindsets for Successful Learning

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STEM is a way of experiencing the world that is creative, inquisitive, and persistent.

JASON Learning’s Early Childhood STEM program focuses on the characteristics of STEM learning, as well as the social-emotional, cognitive, and language and literacy development of early learners. This program was developed in partnership with Dr. Juliana Texley, Past President of the National Science Teaching Association.

Meet Dr. Juliana Texley

Dr. Juliana Texley taught all areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education during her 25+ years as a science teacher in grades K-12, and also served nine years as a school superintendent. Dr. Texley has a master’s degree in biology and a Ph.D. in curriculum development from Wayne State University. She has worked with various stakeholder groups on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), was editor of the NSTA journal The Science Teacher, served as an officer of the Association of Presidential Awardees in Science Teaching, and has been instrumental in developing curriculum for JASON Learning. 

Early Childhood STEM


The three Missions in JASON Early Childhood STEM are unique in several ways:

  • Each mission includes several hands-on activities with opportunities for exploration and play, connections to math, music and art, and teacher resources with a rich library of early childhood literature integrated throughout.
  • The missions are continuous and progressive; not just a collection of independent activities.
  • The progressions focus on habits of mind, with support for assessment of these goals consistent throughout.
  • The activities are specifically structured for guides in any environment (K-12, Head Start, After School and Informal.)
  • Professional development supports communication among guides in all settings.
  • Nationally award-winning children’s literature is integrated through all lessons. Best practice dialogue supports the readings with skill-building.
  • Mathematics and technology support the collection of data. Students argue from that evidence and use it to support their involvement in summative projects.

Photo courtesy of Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

Mission 1: Ecology: STEM & Bloom

The magic of change is always present in children’s lives. There is no STEM topic that could be more fascinating than the growth of living things around them. Gardening is the ultimate interdisciplinary experience, bringing together art and science, math and literature, bounty and beauty. In STEM & Bloom, young learners explore what plants need for survival – sun, water, soil, color, and engineer a themed garden.

Target Audience:

Grades PK-2

Examples of Key Vocabulary/Concepts:

Dirt, flower, fruit, vegetable, fungus, garden heat, leaf, root, light, pollen, rainbow, shadow, thermometer

Mission 2: Physical Science: The Physics Fair

Many people perceive physics as difficult. Yet, it is the most basic and natural of the sciences. The Physics Fair takes young explorers on an adventure to observe and test their environment with Isaac Newton “at their side.” Young learners explore light and forces and interactions through the lens of theme parks and playgrounds!

Target Audience:

Grades PK-2

Examples of Key Vocabulary/Concepts:

Balance, Braille, clues, data, energy, engineer, force, gravity, heavy, light, music, physics, sound, weight

Mission 3: Earth Science: Water, Wind, and Weather

The science of our Earth combines the physics, chemistry, and biology of the planet to describe our earth system. It also awakens a child’s senses: rain on a face, the ooze of mud, the ups and downs of the path to school, are all Earth science concepts. Water, Wind and Weather invites the youngest of learners to explore their world through the lens of storm preparedness.

Target Audience:

Grades PK-2

Examples of Key Vocabulary/Concepts:

Weather, living, measure, map, soil, erosion, thermometer, heat, wind, water

Mission 4: Sense-Sational STEM

Each person is unique. Your body’s senses are different from those of others. Students can explore their senses and learn how they can help them do fun and important things, and stay safe.

Target Audience:

Grades PK-2

Examples of Key Vocabulary/Concepts:

Touch, sight, color, Braille

Students immersed in JASON’s STEM & Bloom build a sundial clock!

Video Courtesy of Newport News Public Schools, VA

Bridges between home, school, and informal settings are vital.

The Impact of JASON’s Early Childhood STEM Program

Through a collaboration with United Way in 2021, 74 unique formal and informal educators in Massachusetts were trained in JASON’s “STEM and Bloom” Early Childhood module. Learn more about what they had to say about our Early Childhood STEM Training below!

Educator Testimonials
From navigating the JASON Platform with ease to incorporating language arts through suggested book tie-ins, these insights provide a first-hand account of the program and training’s practicality and value. Educators also shared their thoughts on various aspects that they found particularly useful.

I will use everything and more that was taught today!

JASON will be a great tool to use to improve our knowledge about science.

Our preschoolers are going to love it!

The training provided by JASON is excellent. It inspires me to want to go and try the lessons with my students. It gets me excited to get started!

Joyce OberthalCarver Elementary School / Newport News, VA

I am excited to see Jason Learning providing lessons and resources geared toward early childhood. I thought the trainers were well versed in early childhood needs and abilities.

Jeanna HodgesDesert Oasis, Nadaburg Unified School District, AZ

The lessons and activities that have been designed are packed full of outstanding resources that connect the learning in the classroom to the world beyond the four walls. Students are immersed in hands-on experiences that they can immediately take and observe in the natural world.

Sara BurrisRolling Hills Local Schools, OH

I am really excited about the beautiful books and activities. I cannot wait to try them with my students.One thing I really appreciated was the encouragement that even if we are new to preschool we can implement STEM activities.


My favorite part was that Juliana said you don't have to be an expert in the content to teach it. Sometimes science scares me b/c I can't explain why something happened or remember how to explain it. But the process and experience is still most valuable.

Alexa YaxLedgeview, Summit ESC, OH

Early Childhood Educator Training

STEM is more than understanding subjects. It includes habits of mind that are especially vital in the early childhood year-creativity, observation, communication and persistence. Learning to be a great STEM mentor or guide involves discovery and investigation and is best supported by a network of peers.

JASON offers a variety of training options – both in-person and virtual. The JASON Early Childhood training is designed to provide coordinated professional development to formal and informal educators in STEM. JASON fully integrates content with literacy, the arts, and STEM habits of mind and is designed to help formal and informal educators work together.

Training programs are for any early childhood practitioner or caregiver and parents and others in the child’s learning world are able to also participate. Training sessions also model and demonstrate developmentally-appropriate strategies and solutions to meeting the challenges of remote and blended environments – with activities designed to flex as conditions change.

Visit our Professional Development page to learn more about our ongoing Early Childhood PD:

  • Virtual and In-person training options
  • Opportunities to earn a JASON Early Childhood Advanced Certification
  • Option to earn College Credit through Lesley College

Contact pd@jason.org to learn more.


JASON Learning's Early Childhood Advanced Certification

Gain the resources, strategies, and tools to build a strong foundation for supporting and developing inquisitive, critical thinkers and problem-solvers. This course is led by Juliana Texley, former NSTA President and co-author of the award-winning book: Teaching STEM Literacy: A Constructivist Approach for Ages 3-8.

This course supports guides from diverse learning environments in the development of  progressive, developmentally-appropriate curriculum that builds confidence, skills and supports equity while nurturing  STEM habits of mind and integrating language and fine arts.  Participants also gain methods for assessing progress in these areas and techniques for communicating among diverse learning environments (school, informal, and home).

As a result of participation in this course, participants will:

  • Increase competency in methods that nurture questioning, exploring and observing, describing, categorizing, predicting, persistence, and communicating in young childhood
  • Become more competent in creating physical and online environments for STEM explorations.
  • Develop skills for integrating arts, language, mathematics, and technology.
  • Develop competency in formative and summative assessments of STEM Habits of Mind.
  • Apply research in teaching and assessment to their own professional responsibility.
  • Increase ability and efficacy in communicating with caregivers and community members to cultivate a learning environment in which all young learners are supported and can flourish.

Requirements for Successful Completion include:

  • Attend two 90-minute virtual PD sessions.*  
  • Implement at least two activities fully (with any number of children, in any setting).
  • Provide feedback to the course instructor and class members about how the activity flowed and how it might be improved.
  • Attend a 60-minute focus group interview/discussion to reflect on the program’s successes, challenges, and recommendations.
  • Complete assignments related to required readings.
  • Explore early childhood assessment methods, usage, and reflection.

Individuals who successfully complete the course will earn a JASON Early Childhood Advanced Certificate,  Digital Badge, and the opportunity to acquire 1.0 graduate credit through Lesley College (paid for separately).

*If you participated in the one of JASON’s early childhood pilot programs and have already participated in the two-part workshop but would like to complete the Advanced Certification, please contact help@jason.org

Visit our Professional Development page for more training opportunities!

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