In late April the White House, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Invest in US, held an event at the White House on the importance of early STEM education.  Approximately three months later, the U.S. Department of Education hosted “Early Learning in STEM”, a Google+ Hangout used to follow up on the White House symposium. Invest In US commitment makers such as The Jim Henson Company, Nickelodeon, The Heising-Simons Foundation, Joan Ganz Cooney Center, and Ready Rosie all participated in the follow-up to discuss the importance of STEM and technology platforms in early learning.

The hour long discussion focused on how to pick the right programming and how to make it successful. Specifically, organizations stated that it is important to choose a technology platform based on a child’s learning style.

The organizations also discussed the importance of the four pillar method. The four pillars method is what a caregiver should look for when a child is participating in STEM programming. Caregivers should observe if the child is engaged and actively involved in the program. Caregivers should also look to see if the content is meaningful and that it offers an opportunity for children to socially interact. This is especially important as children often learn by observation.

The follow-up also discussed the importance of partnering with schools and libraries to act as catalysts for their programs and promoted the idea of early learning in STEM through the television platform. Many of the organizations pointed out that children become attached to these shows and the characters. Their love for these characters inspire them to follow their footsteps. If a show is based around STEM, it often encourages children and parents to explore STEM further. The meeting finished by acknowledging how far STEM in early learning has come, but also discussed challenges and opportunities ahead.

Watch the broadcast here.