Science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM with young children can be engaging and powerful for their later learning (McClure et al., 2017). STEM learning starts at birth. STEM with infants and toddlers may seem challenging because, on the one hand, almost everything they do could be considered STEM. On the other hand, to some, the disciplines included in the acronym may seem too advanced for children of this age. We argue that even infants and toddlers are already engaging in the practices foundational to scientific investigation (exploring with the senses), interested in using technology (exploring new tools), thinking like an engineer (testing and revising their prototypes), and reasoning mathematically (attending to quantities) (vanMarle, 2013).

We as educators and family members can enhance the quality of our interactions with very young children once we know how capable they are and how important the earliest years of development are for their later learning—STEM and otherwise.

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