ZORA!® STEM INITIATIVE
Preparing Eatonville’s Children for the 21st Century Global Economy: The ZORA!® STEM Initiative for the Very, Very Young
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Recognizing that Eatonville’s children must achieve educational excellence if the town is to survive and thrive, P.E.C. has made a generations-long commitment to community revitalization by nurturing “an environment which focuses on academic achievement” in the lives of “Little Ones,” beginning with those 18 months of age. This is not a proposal to prepare toddlers to score better on a standardized test. Instead, our concept appreciates that, in Historic Eatonville, faith, family, education, and civic pride have served as the foundation blocks for building strong community; that with careful attention and appropriate resources, we can provide a path forward so that when Eatonville’s children enter pre-k and kindergarten, there will not exist the academic disparity which typically exists between African-American and white children.
THE OBJECTIVE | PHASE 1
The objective of the current phase of the ZORA!® STEM Initiative for the Very, Very Young is to develop an initial model to introduce STEM education at the earliest stages of the educational process for underrepresented students. This project will be performed by an interdisciplinary team of academic researchers, practitioners and a historian from the Eatonville community. The application environment for this project is the Eatonville, Florida community due to the inherent characteristics that allow the proposed model to be developed, accepted in the community, and evaluated. Eatonville provides four characteristics that make it an excellent candidate for testing the ZORA!® STEM model: (1) Scale: the incorporated community is under 2,500 residents, (2) Resources: the infrastructure exists to maintain longitudinal interaction with the researchers at UCF, (3) Support: the project is the product of PEC members who want to support STEM development in the Eatonville community and (4) Access: access to pre-k students in Head Start Programs and other community based daycare centers.