In an effort to compete with students from China and Europe, US children as young as kindergarteners are being included in engineering for kids programs. First of all, don't you hate that we can't do anything in this country unless we're competing with somebody else? Like the USSR fails so suddenly we don't care about space anymore. Btw, read Frank Morring Jr's wonderful What We're Giving Up on his On Space blog, it's the same old argument for why we need to go into space but with a human element that almost breaks your heart.
So back to that engineering program for five year olds. Developed by the Museum of Science in Boston, it's called Engineering is Elementary and includes a bunch of cool looking projects and shiny new books with illustrated kids all over the globe taking you through each project. For instance one of the projects is designing windmills and the kit the MOS provides includes paper, cards, twine, fishing line, sticks and tape. Presumably the accompanying book or chapter for that unit walks the kids through what windmills are used for and how to make them in something geared towards their grade level (the windmill project is for grades 1-2).
I think it's fantastic just to expose kids to the word engineering when they are that age. Show them it's not some big scary thing. That they already have the natural curiosity to take stuff apart (the expensive things you buy them) and put stuff together (legos come to mind).
But let's not kid ourselves here (har har). I know all these little monsters want to do is replace me. Come into the workforce just when I'm getting tired and show they can be faster and younger than me. And now they're training them so young, how can I compete with a 5th grader? What manager is not naturally going to be drawn to their youth and how cute they are, and give that person all the plum assignments! A conspiracy I tell you.