Early educators explore school readiness through STEM

Updated: Apr 22, 2019

Readiness was the topic of the day as more than 130 dedicated local early childhood educators gathered for Childcare Resources’ workshop ‘Ready for STREAM,’ featuring Dan Gartrell, Ed. D, Emeritus Professor in Early Childhood Education from Bemidji State University, and funded by Indian River County’s Children’s Services Advisory Committee.


Teachers began the day exploring ways to foster readiness, the healthy mindset that allows children to manage stress and engage in meaningful learning experiences. Because a child’s brain develops rapidly in the first five years, preschool teachers are in a unique position to help build readiness in their students. “For those little brains to be cooking away and learning, the kids have to have manageable stress,” said presenter Dan Gartrell, a regular contributor to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), “They have to feel positively about the learning experience.”


Dan Gartrell, Ed. D, discussed readiness and developmentally-appropriate STEM ideas.

“Dr. Gartrell presents essential concepts and best practices for approaching early learning, using both his years of direct classroom experience and clear explanations from academic research,” said Vero Beach Museum of Art’s School and Community Programs Manager Shanti Sanchez, also an adjunct instructor for Childcare Resources’ Early Educator Credentialing Program. “The connection between the roles of play and creativity for readiness to learn in formal academic settings is essential and of great value for all educators.”


Dan Gartrell with members of the Childcare Resources Program Committee Peggy Martin, Barbie Horton, Paulette Maggiacomo, Executive Director Shannon McGuire Bowman, Monica Cheslak, Cindy Hultquist, Susan Donovan, and Kathy Marshall.

In the afternoon, early educators discovered how to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) teaching practices developmentally-appropriate for young children by turning them into “STREAM” by adding creative arts activities and focusing on building strong, stable relationships between students and learning experiences. “They’ll learn the real meaning of numbers and of shapes…when they’re ready,” said Dr. Gartrell, “But we always help the child to develop that readiness by being encouraging and supportive in our responses to them.”


Childcare Resources will be presenting a third workshop for early childhood educators, “Big Ideas in Early Mathematics,” on March 9. Registration is currently open at ChildcareResourcesIR.org


Childcare Resources of Indian River, a partner agency of the United Way of Indian River County and Indian River County Children’s Services Advisory Committee, elevates and promotes the highest quality early childhood development and education in Indian River County, focusing on economically challenged children and families. To learn more about Childcare Resources, visit ChildcareResourcesIR.org or call 772-567-3202


Mission: To elevate and promote the highest quality early childhood development and education in Indian River County, focusing on economically challenged children and families.

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