Our children have incredible imaginations and natural curiosity about their world and how it works; however, if that excitement is not fostered or encouraged, interest is lost. In Detroit, the high school graduation rate is only 37.5%. The sooner we can reach children and spark interest in school, the greater chance they will have at succeeding later in life.
This project allows one kindergartner to be a “Little Engineer” in a three-year (K-3rd grade) program that targets low socioeconomic neighborhoods in Detroit. The project funds the cost of teachers, materials, curriculum and field trips for 1 student-parent participant team over the course of three years: Kindergarten through 3rd grade. The project also funds parental engagement: the Little Engineer’s parent will participate in the program with their child and learn how to create a good learning environment at home. The parental engagement component ensures continued support of the Little Engineer even after the program ends.
Help Detroit students develop strong self-confidence and pride as their knowledge and skills increase, creating a world of difference for their future development.
Selected kindergartners get to be a “Little Engineer” in a three-year program that targets low socioeconomic neighborhoods in Detroit. The program supports the child and a parent for the 3 formative years from Kindergarten to 3rd Grade. These Little Engineers receive more than hands-on learning experiences; they receive positive messages and constant encouragement.
The Little Engineer That Could participants have demonstrated new knowledge in science and engineering content and processing skills and have also demonstrated an understanding that engineers engage in diverse types of work, and include women, African Americans and Latinos in their ranks. According to post-program parent survey responses, 70% of parents noted their children always or almost always talk about science activities being fun – up from 20% in the pre-program response!
The Little Engineers are engaged in eight Saturday sessions per year, from kindergarten through third grade. At each stage in the program, the children learn a different science concept. They get to be Little Hydrologists, Chemists, Mechanical Engineers and Electrical Engineers, learning the scientific process and conducting experiments along the way. At the same time, their parent learns how to create a learning-friendly environment at home, how to manage household finances in preparation for continued educational support; appropriate food and nutrition; and how to support their child through the entire educational pursuit. After the third grade, students are invited to DAPCEP's fourth grade bridge program – science and engineering programming in the same format through the fourth grade. From there, they can apply to be in general DAPCEP programming in every grade, from fifth to twelfth grade.