Discoveries from the Field Fund
The Foundation for Early Learning has adopted a new approach to doing our work. We will build on our tradition of working with communities and partners to provide services for children and families throughout Washington State. The focus of our funding and outreach will now address specific thematic areas that improve kindergarten readiness. Through our innovative granting efforts, we will support the creation and sharing of programs and services through our Discoveries from the Field Fund and our outreach initiatives.
In order to promote our vision for the future, the Foundation for Early Learning (Foundation) is launching an innovative new pilot granting program. The Discoveries from the Field Fund will support community-driven themes that expand the community’s understanding of early learning. This first year, the Foundation plans to pilot projects that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
The Foundation is committed to harnessing and harvesting emerging ideas that find and foster our future generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, technicians, innovators and entrepreneurs.
Over the next three and a half years, the Foundation plans to invest $325,000 in one full STEM cohort of five grantees to test its model of generating innovative projects, identifying measureable impacts, and promoting scalable outcomes.
Goals of the Pilot:
Pilot the STEM cohort model and learn from the process to improve the cohort model approach;
Determine the measurability and scalability of projects over time;
Foster a culture of collaboration among grantees to generate the development of a collective project;
Establish and refine parameters for future cohorts; and
Highlight impact/outcomes of projects on young children and families.
The Foundation seeks grantees that want to transform the lives of young children and families whether it happens through establishing a positive STEM idea for parents to pass onto their children or reimagining how practical day-to-day STEM ideas can advance children’s foundational math understanding in practical ways. The opportunities for innovation and exploration are boundless. As part of the Discoveries from the Field Fund, the Foundation seeks to promote your organization’s creative and entrepreneurial spirit that you can instill in our youngest learners.
We believe that all children should enter kindergarten prepared to take on STEM challenges. Research indicates that math skills, in particular, serve as a better predictor of long-term school success than literacy. According to Washington’s Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) data, fewer than half of children in Washington State are entering kindergarten prepared in math. We believe parents, families, professionals, and communities play a key role in how children view STEM and the earlier we expose children to foundational STEM concepts, the more prepared our children will be.
Over the last decade, the field of early learning and education has garnered a significant amount of attention as more research highlights the critical brain development that occurs during the first five years of a child’s life. New technologies and ways of connecting people and information have the potential to transform the way we support children, families, and communities in this rapidly changing environment.
The Foundation promotes the Center for Social Innovation’s definition that social innovation is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than present solutions and for which the value created accrues primarily to society as a whole rather than private individuals. In order to increase the STEM success of children in Washington State, we are interested in supporting innovative and novel ideas that you would like to test in your community on how best to advance STEM learning for children and families in your program/community.