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Preschool Faculty Engages in STEM Professional Development With Constructivist Expert

Dr. Brooks led workshops with the preschool staff, analyzed curriculum in place and engaged in extensive dialog with classroom teachers.
St. Margaret’s Early Childhood Development Center faculty welcomed constructivist educator Jacqueline Brooks to campus last month for two days of professional development.
During her visit to St. Margaret’s, she led workshops with the preschool staff, analyzed curriculum in place and engaged in extensive dialog with classroom teachers.
Dr. Brooks focuses on STEM education and has studied how people learn as a teacher, researcher, professor and co-founder of a children’s museum. She is currently a research professor at Stony Brook University and a professor emerita at Hofstra University.
“I wanted the teachers to have a deeper understanding of the science and engineering components of children’s play,” ECDC Director Cris Lozon said.
During her visit, Dr. Brooks focused on STEM concepts, including engineering, physics and math, and also studied St. Margaret’s new interdisciplinary garden curriculum. Her expertise in interdisciplinary concepts to blend different domains of STEM is in line with St. Margaret’s summer work, which included seven faculty members visiting Reggio Emilia, Italy to learn more about the renowned approach to early-childhood education that puts the child at the center of his or her own learning.
Constructivism is an educational theory that children construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world through experience and reflection.
“Dr. Brooks’ work in the constructivist philosophy is in line with Reggio Emilia. The cross-cutting concepts provide teachers with the background language to help deepen a child’s thinking of science and engineering through play,” Dr. Lozon said. “This was a follow-up of our summer work. Teachers need the foundational knowledge of the disciplines that naturally arise from children’s curiosity.”
St. Margaret’s increased its budget for professional development 35 percent for the 2017-2018 school year to expand ongoing growth and learning opportunities, like this one, for the expertise of educators.
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