Head Start on Engineering:
Supporting Engineering Interest Development in Early Childhood
This National Science Foundation-funded project is designed to address long-standing disparities in engineering participation and achievement by women and individuals from traditionally underserved racial and ethnic groups. Unlike most previous efforts that have worked with learners at the secondary or even college levels, this project focuses on supporting engineering interest development in early childhood. Designed as a research and practice effort, the project hopes to build a strong empirical and theoretical base that will lay the foundation for future research efforts to advance the field's limited understanding of early childhood engineering-related interest development, especially through parent-child interactions; create research tools for studying engineering-related interest in young children; and identify effective strategies for supporting long-term engineering interest pathways. The Head Start on Engineering project will work with families with four-year-old children who attend Head Start programs, using research approaches and program activities that are sensitive to the constraints of low-income families and building on the resources and funds of knowledge that exist within their communities. The project is a collaboration between the Institute for Learning Innovation, Mt. Hood Community College Head Start program, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), and the Center for STEM Education at the University of Notre Dame.