Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Researchers to Create Science Curriculum for Latino Pre-K Students

Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara are working on creating a health and biology curriculum for Latino preschool students with the help of a $1.2 million award from the National Institutes of Health.

The university reports that the curriculum’s goal will be to teach low-income Hispanic 4- and 5-year olds who are English language learners. The children will learn about topics such as food and nutrition. They will also learn about cold and flu prevention, and practices such as the importance of washing hands to prevent illness.

The university said the children will also learn about how to approach science through questioning, developing explanations and also making predictions.

“With the project, we’re also trying to develop information-seeking and explanatory discourse skills so when the preschool children get to kindergarten, they’re comparable to their peers,” lead investigator Laura Romo said in a press release.

Romo is an associate professor in the department of education at UCSB and is director of the university’s Chicano Studies Institute. She will work on the curriculum with the Santa Barbara Head Start program.

Beyond concepts, the researchers hope to learn what sort of language support the preschool ELLs need to develop their academic language and also learn content at the same time.