LOS ANGELES, CA – When it comes to scientific thinking, it is never too early to get the ball rolling, which is the philosophy at the Sylvan Park Early Education Center.

  • Students getting head start at STEM
  • Diving into scientific concepts
  • Using high tech to expand their minds

“We are allowing them to be their own creators," says Principal Claudia Araujo.

Students roll up their sleeves and dive into scientific concepts. They also go high tech, using augmented reality to find dinosaurs in their classroom. It may look like playing but Principal Araujo says it’s really about leveling the playing field. Her students come from low-income households. Many don’t have access to tablets and apps, tools they will use when they get to elementary school. 

“By providing some of the technology here, children lose the fear of 'I can’t use it, I don’t know how,'" said Araujo. "Now they understand the new vocabulary.”

Even the vocabulary of coding. Teacher Diego Lopez Diaz says programming a small robotic bug is giving them the building blocks.

“If the kids are able to code right now, they are able to make a program later on," said Diaz. "These kids are the ones that are going to be making all those programs in the future.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District has over 80 early education centers and seven are STEM certified. Principal Araujo is working to make this the eighth. Curriculum is a big part of that but so is the overall environment.  

“They’re happy. They’re engaged. They’re motivated," said Araujo. “I love seeing them think of new ways of using the same things I was using but it in a completely different way.”

Having gone from student to principal, Araujo says she is confident that the skills they are building will help them achieve success in grade school, college, and in their careers.