PISCATAWAY, NJ – Students at the Children’s Corner Preschool by the River were treated to Valentine’s Day themed lessons in STEM on Wednesday, where volunteers from Johnson & Johnson and the United Way introduced them to some basic concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The volunteers went classroom to classroom, conducting experiments with heart shaped candies and bowls of water, having the 3- and 4-year old Pre-K students fill little boats with the candy to see how many it would take to sink.

The students also noticed what else happened when the variously colored candies fell into the water.

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“The water turned green and the heart turned pink,” said one girl with excitement.

“We were working with June Launay with the United Way who was able to link us up with Johnson & Johnson who really wants to push STEM projects in the schools,” said program coordinator, Harry Vanderburg, the Piscataway School District’s Community and Parent Involvement Specialist (CPIS).

“The earlier we get this sort of education to the children the greater the likelihood of their succeeding later on is going to be,” said Vanderburg who wants to bring in more community stakeholders to enhance the curriculum already being taught.

“The United Way has a focus on early childhood development, particularly quality Pre-K programs,” said June Launay of the United Way of Central Jersey.

“We do have preschool activities in other districts and this is our opportunity to work with Piscataway and expand into their new, expanded preschool program,” said Launay. “We have worked with older grades in the district over the years, but this is our first time focusing just on preschool and coming in with STEM projects.”

She said they had a fantastic day working with the Children’s Corner during the program.

“It’s been a great school, they’re very easy to work with,” said Launay. “They’re very welcoming to our volunteers who are having a great time as well.”

Vanderburg and Launay hope to expand the program to include the Children’s Corner’s location by the pond and to the district’s various satellite Pre-K classrooms.

“We’re going to be doing additional activities with this school,” said Launay. “I have a women’s Pre-K STEM committee that is looking to expand into more districts. They’re currently working in Jamesburg and this gives us an additional location where they can bring their Pre-K STEM projects to the school. It’s a way of supplementing what the teacher’s doing in the classroom and enhancing learning because it’s never too early for kids to learn STEM.”

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