Journal of STEM Teacher Education


Early childhood teacher candidates benefit when presented with opportunities to engage meaningfully with their clinically-based school community. Informal learning events that are hosted after school hours but within school settings present a valuable way to provide these opportunities. Too often, content areas exist in isolation in classrooms, a stark contrast to the real world where content is connected and overlapping. Additionally, while many early childhood teachers express insecurity about their ability to teach STEM content, an integrated STEAM (STEM + Arts & Humanities) approach may help to promote comfort with STEM content and presents an authentic example of content integration. This article presents a model of informal STEAM learning that capitalizes on collaborative school-university partnerships to improve both teacher candidate development and student learning outcomes. The model described provides practical ideas for facilitating successful informal STEAM events at local schools and is of value to a variety of educational stakeholders.