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UC online program offers early childhood development credit

STEM in the Playscape connects STEM learning and children's exploration of nature

Although children think playing in nature is fun, we know that “play” is the way children learn.

For eight years, a University of Cincinnati research team has analyzed how children’s unstructured play in natural settings cultivates a passion for learning, a stewardship of nature and an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

The findings of this research led, in part, to a dynamic series for educators inspired by a research grant from the National Science Foundation. The STEM in the Playscape digital modules are the first to be released as part of the Arlitt Professional Educators Learning Series, developed to engage early childhood educators with in-depth professional learning opportunities that promote reflective thinking and high-quality practices in early childhood education.

The STEM in the Playscape modules are the first to be released as a part of this initiative and accessible for free through the Office of Professional and Continuing Education. Once complete, participants can choose to pay a nominal fee to apply for continuing education credits and a certificate for completion of contact hours.

About the Arlitt Center

Part of the School of Education within UC's College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, the Arlitt Center houses the Arlitt Child Development Center, one of the oldest laboratory preschools in the nation.

The program serves preschool children from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds and acts as a practicum site for university students. In addition, the center conducts applied research and supports initiatives and projects related to children, youth and environments , and sustainable world views. Arlitt is dedicated to elevating the field of early childhood education through advocacy and training. In addition to the STEM in the Playscape digital learning modules, The

Arlitt Professional Educator Learning Series offers a range of professional learning opportunities, including on-site training and mentoring, as well as training tours of the Arlitt Child Development Center and the Arlitt Nature Playscape.

Featured image at top: Nature play allows children opportunity to develop empathy toward other living things. Photo/The Arlitt Center

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