Supporting the foundations of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths)

Children’s early STEM development grows from their natural curiosity and engagement in real-world experiences and play. These can be enhanced through interaction with adults who have the confidence to share the child’s interest, and can be extended still further with relevant knowledge, vocabulary and ideas.

We are thrilled to have been granted funding to create a new 'Exploring Together Programme' to support children's early STEM development.  The new content will adapt and add to the Peep Learning Together Programme.  The project has been funded by the Charity of Sir Richard Whittington, for which the Mercers' Company is corporate trustee, and is part of the Company's Early Years Special Initiative.


Our project combines expertise from Peeple, the University of Oxford, the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and Sheringham Nursery.  Sheringham Nursery heads the East London Research School.  The Research Schools Network is an initiative led by the Education Endowment Foundation to support the use of evidence to improve practice. 

project overview

The project is taking place from April 2021 to May 2024, and includes:

  • developing an 8-week programme to upskill Early Years practitioners with the confidence, knowledge & skills to help parents encourage the foundations of STEM through everyday activities and interactions, and to support STEM skills in their settings,
  • piloting and refining the programme with practitioners and parents from Sheringham Nursery research school in East London,
  • training and supporting practitioners from the Sheringham Early Years hub to deliver the programme to families,
  • a small Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) research study,
  • developing and piloting an accredited unit for parents, to consolidate their learning from the programme and to equip them for further learning, volunteering and/or employment.

We hope that STEM will become something that more practitioners and parents are excited rather than anxious about.  Together we will help very young children from all walks of life embrace their inborn curiosity and fulfil their potential to become the scientists, engineers, mathematicians, programmers and inventors of the future.