Issues and Opportunities in PreK–3 STEM Education

Moderator: Janice Earle
Susan Carey, Doug Clements, Kimberlee Kiehl, and Karen Worth
In a moderated panel, four early childhood leaders discuss critical STEM-specific issues related to formal and informal preK–3 educational settings. Panelists share research and practice knowledge about early childhood teaching and learning developed over the past several decades. This session serves as a jump-off point for the day's conversations and sessions.

Janice Earle, Program Director, Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), National Science Foundation
Janice Earle currently serves as a senior program director for K–12 STEM education in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) at the NSF. As such, she is responsible for NSF-wide activity on K–12 STEM education. She has been at the NSF since 1991 and has worked with several of the NSF’s education programs. Previously, Earle served as the cluster lead for the Research and Evaluation on Education in Science and Engineering (REESE) and CAREER programs housed in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings and as coordinator for EHR evaluation activities. Earle works with several of the agency’s policy-oriented efforts such as those with the National Academy of Sciences, the National Research Council, and the U.S. Department of Education. Earle received a BA in History from the University of Michigan, an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a PhD in Education Policy and Planning from the University of Maryland.

Susan Carey, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University
Susan Carey was employed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1972 to 1996 and New York University from 1996 to 2001 before joining the faculty at Harvard University in 2001, where she is chair of the psychology department. Currently, Carey is working on the role of executive function in conceptual change. Executive functions (working memory, cognitive control) likely play many roles in successful learning, as they include the capacities for sustained attention and maintenance of goal-directed activities. Her work involves characterizing the components of executive function, charting their development during the preschool and early elementary years, and exploring their role in the acquisition of STEM concepts. Carey’s research concerns the psychological processes that underlie conceptual change. She has carried out case studies of the processes through which children construct their first concepts of integers, as well as case studies of conceptual changes within biology and physics that are targets of elementary school education. Carey is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Education. She received both her BA and PhD from Harvard University.

Doug Clements, Kennedy Endowed Chair, Professor, and Executive Director, Marsico Institute, University of Denver
Doug Clements conducts research and development activities in early childhood mathematics education. At the national level, his contributions have led to the development of new mathematics curricula, teaching approaches, teacher training initiatives, and models of “scaling up” interventions, and have had a tremendous impact on educational planning and policy, particularly in the area of mathematical literacy and access. Clements has served on the President's National Mathematics Advisory Panel and the Common Core State Standards committee of the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, where he wrote national academic standards and the learning trajectories that underlie them. He was a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Early Mathematics and co-author of their report. Clements has also served on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics National Curriculum and Principles and Standards committees. Clements has earned grants from the NSF, the National Institutes of Health, and the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education. Clements received his PhD in Elementary Education from the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.

Kimberlee Kiehl, Executive Director, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
Kimberlee Kiehl assumed the role of executive director of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) in July 2012. The lab school, serving 135 children ages 2 months through kindergarten, operates in two sites—one in the National Museum of Natural History and one in the National Museum of American History. Prior to coming to SEEC, Kiehl was the chief strategy and operations officer at the Center Of Science and Industry (COSI), a large science museum in Columbus, Ohio, for 12 years. There she was responsible for both developing and implementing the strategic plan of the institution, as well as conceptualizing and managing partnerships with various community organizations. While at COSI, Kiehl participated in the start-up of Metro High School in partnership with Battelle and Ohio State University (OSU), and was responsible for organizing a number of STEM partnerships between OSU and COSI. She went to COSI after being an associate professor and director of the A. Sophie Rogers Lab School at OSU for 12 years. She was a Noyce Foundation Leadership Fellow from 2010 to 2011. Kiehl received her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialty in Early Childhood from Penn State University. She holds an MS in Special Education from the College of St. Rose and a BS in Speech Pathology and Audiology from SUNY Geneseo.

Karen Worth, Chair of Elementary Education, Wheelock College
Karen Worth is faculty at Wheelock College, where she teaches early childhood and elementary education with a focus on science education. She works closely with the Mathematics and Science Department to enhance the preparation of preservice students at Wheelock College. She also coordinates the Integrated Elementary and Special Education Program at the graduate level. She is currently chair of the Elementary Education Department. Worth also worked as a senior research scientist at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), leading a range of programs focused on science curriculum development, professional development, and systemic reform. These included the NSF-funded development projects Connecting Science and Literacy Program: A Professional Development Program for Elementary Teachers, Tool Kit for Early Childhood Science Education, and the project that resulted in the publication of Insights, an Elementary Inquiry-Based Curriculum, which is currently in use nationally and internationally. Worth also co-led two major NSF-funded science systemic reform projects nationally. She has been a consultant and advisor to a number of museums, including the Boston Children’s Museum and the Chicago Children’s Museum. She has advised public television stations, including WGBH, PBH, and community organizations across the country and internationally. She served as the chair of the working group on Science Teaching Standards for the National Academy of Science’s National Science Education Standards effort. She is a recipient of the Exploratorium’s Outstanding Educator Award, the international Purkwa Prize for the scientific literacy of the children, and the NSTA Distinguished Service Award. Worth holds a BS from Radcliffe College and an MS from Bank Street College of Education.