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Young children’s interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) can develop through everyday experiences; often in science-related informal settings and museums. Verdine et al. found that parental spatial language is important in creating a foundation in STEM learning. The relation between children’s school readiness scores, informal play at home, and spatial language use during caregiver-child play with an open-ended block task was examined. The first hypothesis was that families who use more spatial language during informal block play will report playing more with the spatial, STEM-related toys at home, which may be related to school readiness scores. The second hypothesis was that there will be a link between spatial language and STEM-related school readiness scores in which families who use more spatial language will have children who score higher in school readiness. The third hypothesis was that over the course of the school year, school readiness will increase during the children’s enrollment in the Head Start program based on previous results by Kachuro et al. The quantity of spatial language was determined using transcripts of the videos of the dyads’ interactions. School readiness was conducted through an observational assessment that was performed at the beginning and end of the program. At home play was measured through caregivers’ self-report on a questionnaire. The sample consisted of 23 children (12 females) who participated with their parent (12 females) and were recruited at Family Engagement events held monthly at the Sciencenter for families enrolled in Head Start. A correlational analysis along with descriptive statistics will be presented between school readiness scores, play questionnaire, and spatial language analysis. Finally, we will examine measured variables for emerging sex differences.



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The Relation Between Spatial Language During Informal Learning and Children’s STEM-Related School Readiness Scores