2018 The Early Childhood STEM Institute





2018 The Early Childhood STEM Institute

Children as Adventurers


2018 STEM video

2018 STEM Photo Album


May 7-9, 2018

The Garland Hotel, North Hollywood, CA

All my life through, the new sights of nature made me rejoice like a child.—Marie Curie

What fun is this—learning how to teach young children about science, technology, engineering and math! George Washington Carver said, “Since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.” And so teaching the very young STEM concepts is a strategy that will reap huge rewards for the future while serving as a fun, engaging activity in the present.

The Early Childhood STEM Institute brings joy of learning in a tangible and hands-on way for the entire Head Start community—teachers, home visitors, family advocates, child care partners, education coordinators, managers and directors and parents.  During this three day Institute, attendees will be offered a variety of opportunities to gain knowledge from listening, doing, playing and networking with their peers.  In additions to traditional workshops, R9 Early Learning STEM Institute will feature a simulated Anji play experience,  STEM Curriculum Fair, receptions with our exhibitors and time to network with peers.  Click on the link above to view the preliminary schedule of events.  In addition to the Early Childhood STEM Institute, tours of local Head Start and Early Head Start sites will be offered.  In addition a pre-institute session (back by popular demand) will be offered to deepen you approach to coaching. 

Local Site Tours


UCLA Early Child Care and Education Centers – The Krieger Center

The Krieger Center is located at the north/west corner of campus. Faculty, staff and student families are enrolled at the Krieger Center. The Krieger Center is the largest center (approximately 160 children). The Krieger Center has a full kitchen and an on-site cook who provides breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack for the children. The Krieger Center has nine classrooms (four for younger and older infants and five for preschool).


Pre-Institute Session

Certificate of Participation – Pre Institute

In this six-hour session, Participants will engage in coaching conversations where techniques for effective listening and for asking effective questions will intentionally transform how we relate to each other every day in our most significant and meaningful work. This highly interactive workshop will propel you forward with achieving your goals and objectives by aligning the outcomes you desire with your greatest natural talents and strengths. Discover what the organization called Gallup has done with decades of research and critical thinking to support us in learning to tap into who we already are to maximize our productivity! Be willing to practice some basic coaching skills with colleagues in this session, and if you are experiencing a transition in your life (professionally or personally), leave this session inspired to take your next steps–moving into action toward making that significant difference you desire to make in the lives of people we serve!”

Presented by Christine Mattos – Masterful Strategies.


The Early Childhood STEM Institute

Certificate of Participation

Region 9 Head Start is pleased to announce our opening keynote for Early Childhood STEM Institute – Please welcome Ms. Cheng Xueqin is the creator of the Anji Play approach, Director, Office of Pre-Primary Education, Anji County Department of Education, Zhejiang Province; Member, Play and Materials Professional Committee, China National Society of Early Childhood Education. Her research includes public policy and management in pre-primary education, early childhood curricula, and play.

Opening Session – Exploring Anji Play

Ms. Cheng Xueqin from Anji Play

Anji Play is the internationally-recognized philosophy and approach to early learning developed and tested over the past 16 years by educator Cheng Xueqin. Today, Anji Play is the curriculum of the 130 public kindergartens in Anji County, China serving more than 14,000 children from ages 3 to 6. Through sophisticated practices, site-specific environments, unique materials and integrated technology the Anji Play ecology of learning is quickly establishing itself as a new global standard for early childhood education and redefining understandings of learning, cognitive development and design. Returning the Right of Self-determined Play to children and communities in an environment defined by Love, Risk, Joy, Engagement, Reflection is the guiding principle of Anji Play.



Closing Session – Supporting Early STEM Thinking and Learning: The Critical Role of Teachers

Dr. Osnat Zur from WestEd

Although young children have natural, inborn dispositions to explore and learn about their world, adults have an important role in fostering and nourishing children’s self-initiated explorations. Engaging children in rich, interesting and meaningful inquiry learning experiences develop their STEM thinking, knowledge and skills. STEM experiences also support children’s positive learning dispositions such as curiosity, invention, reflection and communication;  habits and skills that build a strong foundation for lifelong learning. Dr. Zur will discuss examples of developmentally appropriate, playful early learning STEM experiences and invite us to reflect on how we can build our own dispositions and competencies to guide and facilitate early STEM learning with infants, toddlers and preschoolers.


Osnat Zur is a Senior Program Associate with the Center for Child & Family Studies at WestEd. She serves as Project Director as part of WestEd’s collaboration with the National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning.

Previously at WestEd, Zur served as the lead researcher and author for the California preschool foundations in the domain of science, and for the state’s preschool curriculum framework in mathematics and in science.

Zur is a developmental psychologist, with expertise in children’s cognitive development, focusing primarily on the development of mathematical and scientific reasoning.

The Vision

All children, regardless of their circumstance at birth, deserve a full and prosperous life.

The Mission

  • Support high-impact Head Start programs for children and adults by creating opportunities for collaboration, networking and information sharing.
  • Unite with state and national Head Start organizations to ensure regulatory and budget outcomes that support our work.
  • Champion the message that every child and family who succeeds makes their community a better place.
  • Provide resources to assist our members in compliance and professional development.

Contact Us

2131 Capitol Avenue, Suite 307
Sacramento, CA 95816



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