ETHS students (from left) Silvia Serrano, and Katia Bell, and Brianna Charles attended a workshop at The Garage at Northwestern University where participants learned hands-on activities for early STEM education. Photo from ETHS

Evanston Township High School has launched a Pre-K Science and Engineering program at its on-site preschool to help extend STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education to the elementary school level. On Feb. 26, ETHS began the roll-out of a 12-week program in partnership with Paige & Paxton, a curriculum provider focused solely on early elementary STEM curriculum and teacher training.

The ETHS preschool serves as a unique learning space where ETHS students can take Introduction to Child Development and Advanced Child Development courses as part of the high school’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum. Twenty-five children of ETHS staff members attend the preschool, overseen by staff members working with ETHS students who are eligible to earn a Level 1 Early Care and Education credential as designated by the State of Illinois.

The Pre-K Science and Engineering program model enables students enrolled in the ETHS Advanced Child Development course to learn best practices in early STEM education and apply what they learn in the real-world setting of the preschool. Preschool children in turn benefit from early exposure to science and engineering lessons that are led and implemented by high school students.

“Many students enrolled in our Advanced Child Development class are interested in pursuing education as a career,” said Shelley Gates, CTE Department Chair at ETHS.  “We are excited to provide this opportunity for them to learn about the importance of early elementary STEM education.”