Applying STEM to Early Learning

Kilvington’s ELC has recently been chosen as one of 100 centres nationally (and one of only 20 in Victoria) to participate in the Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) pilot.

A new Australian Government initiative, ELSA aims to promote children’s interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) in the year before school and to continue this interest through primary school and beyond.  It will run for one year.

The ELSA pilot complements our focus on providing an engaging play-based learning environment and provides inspiration for hands-on activities and experiences rich in STEM practices.

Exploring and challenging while promoting curiosity through new discoveries.

 

The pilot is enhanced by a digital learning program featuring a series of educational apps for use with our 4-year-old groups, as well as an app that families can use at home to extend the concepts introduced at kindergarten.

Engaging with colourful and fun applications.

The pilot aims to minimise screen time while maximising learning outcomes. The children engage with fun and colourful apps individually and in small groups.

STEM is a valuable tool of learning as it focuses on ‘practice’ rather than the knowledge of each student. Ideas such as questioning, designing and building, exploring and challenging are being introduced and expanded through play.

Decoding information and discovering similarities and differences.

Thinking critically while sorting leaves and using comparative language.

 

Trialling new ideas through hands-on play experiences.

The children use a variety of methods as they think critically and process information.

Values involving curiosity, imagination, teamwork and persistence are nurtured and developed as the children explore STEM practices further.

In this way, STEM practices develop important core values for each child and align with the National Early Years Learning Framework and our Kilvington Character Initiative at its most important phase – the beginning.

This is a wonderful opportunity for Kilvington and we look forward to exploring this exciting new era of learning, hand-in-hand with our commitment to offering our youngest students with the opportunities to help prepare them for their future.

By Mary Ann Leembruggen, ELSA Pilot Coordinator, Kilvington ELC Teacher

To find our more about Covington’s ELC program, register for our next Open Morning here.

Reference: Lowrie, T., Downes, N., & Leonard, S. (2017). STEM education for all young Australians: A Bright Spots Learning Hub Foundation Paper, for SVA, in partnership with Samsung. University of Canberra STEM Education Research Centre.