STEM education in early childhood: A review of empirical studies

Zhihong WAN, Yushan JIANG, Ying ZHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Research Findings: Various cross-disciplinary STEM learning activities were implemented in the early childhood context. Young children and their parents had rather positive attitudes towards STEM learning. In addition to educational values, the economic value of STEM learning for their family was perceived by a good number of parents, which believed that learning STEM could pave a path for their children toward future economic prosperity. Early childhood teachers perceived the values of STEM education from the learning and social perspectives while they realized various practical constrains of time, support and resources, worried about teachers' capacity and subject knowledge, and considered students, developmental differences and safety. They were not confident to implement STEM lessons with their young students. Practice or Policy: It is urgent to present teachers a holistic picture for STEM curriculum in the EC context, covering strengthening discipline-based content learning, enhancing discipline-based integration, and preparing for the innovation-driven integration. The complete process of transferring professional knowledge (including awareness, acquisition, transformation, association, application, and externalization) should be embodied in the design of STEM professional training programs. Parents also needed more training on how to work with their children in STEM activities and scaffold their children' learning. Copyright © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)940-962
JournalEarly Education and Development
Issue number7
Early online dateSept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


Wan, Z. H., Jiang, Y., & Zhan, Y. (2021). STEM education in early childhood: A review of empirical studies. Early Education and Development, 32(7), 940-962. doi: 10.1080/10409289.2020.1814986


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