BLAST PreK  provides pre-K teachers with strategies and tools to prepare their very young students for inquiry-centered learning. Teachers are trained in the use of concepts and materials under six themes ("Exploring Water... Insects... Play... Sound... Senses and Food and Fitness"). These are meant to be used at the "teachable moment," when the colorful beetle crawls across the window, when a sudden downpour interrupts outdoor play, or when a noisy jet passes overhead.

The program was created by Anders Hedberg with full sponsorship from Bristol-Myers Squibb. Curriculum materials were developed by David Heil & Associates, who also were responsible for training preschool teachers.

BLAST PreK was disseminated to thirty-five nonprofit child care centers, as an in-kind charitable gift from Bristol-Myers Squibb. Each center agreed to participate in a year-long evaluation of teacher engagement and student learning.

The evaluation of this innovative program, conducted by Kathleen Haynie Consulting, revealed that students at centers associated with Abbott School Districts in New Jersey showed a statistically significant improvement in scores indicative of learning behavior. (The New Jersey Supreme Court's 1993 Abbott Court Ruling designates schools with predominantly low-income students as eligible for state-funded assistance.)

In order to ensure continued development and dissemination of BLAST PreK, Bristol-Myer Squibb has decided to donate the program in its entirety to the Foundation for Family Science (Portland, OR).

The program also is under review in Chile, Mexico, and Sweden. Leading educational institutions, such as the University of Chile, the Mexico-US Foundation for Science, and the Royal Swedish Academy of Science are exploring how the program can help lay a foundation for strong STEM education in their respective countries.

Learn more about Hedberg Consulting's Global Initiatives