Introduction to the Head Start on Engineering pilot program: Engaging families with preschool children in the engineering design process

Scott Pattison, Verónika Núñez, Cynthia Smith, Gina N. Svarovsky, Marcie Benne, Pam Corrie, and Raquel Stewart
Institute for Learning Innovation, Portland, OR


This guide is an introduction to the HSE program for educators and managers at HeadStart centers, museums, or any other early childhood or informal learning institution that is interested in engaging families with the topic of engineering. As we explain in the introduction, this is not a typical preschool classroom curriculum. The HSE program focuses on helping parents and children engage with engineering at home and develop long-term interests related to engineering. The hands-on activities are designed to be facilitated by parents, with the support of teachers, family workers, science center educators, and other stakeholders. And all of the program components are intended to create a system of support for families that connects learning and engagement inside and outside the classroom and the home.