STEM programmes are receiving increasing attention since they are considered efficient for developing scientific literacy for citizens and for increasing the number of young people choosing to study scientific-technological disciplines at the end of their compulsory schooling and choose scientific vocations (EU 2015). Decision-makers are becoming interested in incorporating STEM approaches informal education, also for early years. This document contains a description of STEM practices designed to encourage scientific vocations for early-years education in Europe. The practices have been found through thorough searches of scientific journals, and descriptions of ongoing and finalised projects supported by the EC. This strategy has been chosen instead of the proposed DELPHI study because the published journal articles are accepted and quality guaranteed and when the selected European practices are described and discussed in relation to the botSTEM framework (Greca, et al. 2020), and the partners, aspects of cultural adaptation and key challenges are addressed.
Furthermore, three central European journals for early-years education have been analysed to get a measure of the frequencies of articles pertinent to existing practices to encourage scientific vocations, i.e.
• European Early Childhood Education Research Journal (EECERJ) – general early-years education
• Journal of Emergent Science (JES) – early-years science education
• European Journal of STEM Education (EJSTEME) – early-years STEM education
The European Commission has supported a large number of European projects in recent years and a thorough scan of projects addressing the issue of encouraging pathways to scientific vocations is reported and discussed in relation to recommendations for designing practices aimed to encourage scientific vocations already at early childhood education.
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