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Go Ask Mom

STEMIEfest offers free virtual STEM programs for young children with disabilities this week

Posted September 14, 2020 11:21 a.m. EDT
Updated September 14, 2020 11:34 a.m. EDT

Photo by Erika Fletcher on Unsplash

The STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center, or STEMIE, at UNC-Chapel Hill is hosting a series of virtual programs this week for young kids with disabilities and the adults who live and work with them.

STEMIEfest and MakerFest are offered through a partnership with Boston Children's Museum and Bridge Multimedia. Programs are designed for kids with and also without disabilities. It's free.

The program provides a variety of ways for people to participate through either live or recorded sessions. (All live sessions also will be recorded so participants can check them out when they are able.)

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math, and, during the week-long program, kids can learn about ways to explore, make and tinker through the MakerFest sessions, connect with authors of STEM-focused books through Storybook Conversations and find out about other at-home STEM activities.

Staff at STEMIE believe this is the first event focused on early STEM learning for young children with disabilities. The center, which is part of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill, works to improve access and participation in STEM activities for young children, ages 0 to 5, especially those with disabilities.

According to STEMIE, none of the materials require expensive tools; families can use whatever they have on hand, whenever they can.

"We know this is an increasingly uncertain and challenging time for families and practitioners and we hope STEMIEfest can provide fun, engaging, play-based experiences that can be easily incorporated by families into their typical daily routines," organizers tell me.

Activities start today, Sept. 14, and run through Sept. 18. You can sign up via Eventbrite. To ask questions or learn more, go to the STEMIE community site.