THE LITTLE SCIENTISTS PROJECT IS SUPPORTED AND FUNDED BY THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING THROUGH THE NATIONAL INNOVATION AND SCIENCE AGENDA.
At Little Scientists we believe that to discover the joy of STEM, children need to be given the opportunity to explore the world in a nurturing and playful setting that boosts their natural eagerness to learn. Our overarching goal is to enable access to high quality education for all children from an early age and to ensure the competitiveness of Australia’s workforce in the future.
Our holistic workshop program empowers educators and teachers working with children from 3 to 6 years of age to explore STEM with confidence and joy. We provide a range of tools and educational concepts that support the implementation of child-led discovery and research. To make scientific exploration as accessible as possible, all our workshops are built around using existing, low-cost, everyday materials.
Each workshop covers a specific STEM topic and educational concept, beginning with the foundation workshop Water. Through every additional workshop, the individual’s confidence with respect to inquiry-based STEM learning grows, as they – step-by-step – continue to expand their knowledge and take on additional teaching strategies. Each year we introduce new STEM workshops to provide a holistic professional development program.
At each workshop, the participants receive supportive educational material providing background information on the topic, scientific facts and a variety of stimuli to encourage daily scientific research. Afterwards, the educators can immediately implement age-appropriate STEM exploration with the children in their care, enabling STEM literacy and enthusiasm for research and discovery.
How it started
Little Scientists Australia is the Australian adaptation of the successful work of the German not-for-profit “Haus der kleinen Forscher” Foundation, established in 2006. “Haus der kleinen Forscher” contiues to be the largest initiative in early childhood education in Germany. Around 47% of all German early childhood education and care services are actively integrating scientific exploration based on the “Haus der kleinen Forscher” inquiry-based approach.
The development of workshops and materials by “Haus der kleinen Forscher” draws on current knowledge in developmental psychology, learning research, early education and didactics.
In addition, the Foundation has incorporated numerous empirical findings and content-based recommendations accumulated during trainer workshops, regular preschool visits and observations made in the “Haus der kleinen Forscher” Foundation’s local networks in Germany over the past ten years.
The OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) Governing Board has recommended Little Scientists as an exemplary initiative for innovative teaching in its report “Innovative Teaching for Effective Learning”, released in April 2012.
FROEBEL is a leading not-for-profit provider of bilingual education and care services in Australia, Germany, Turkey and Poland with a strong commitment to excellence and best practice in early childhood education. Following the success of integrating the “Haus der kleinen Forscher” inquiry-based learning approach in a large number of FROEBEL education and care services in Germany, FROEBEL Australia initiated a partnership with the “Haus der kleinen Forscher” Foundation in 2013 and is proud to bring the Little Scientists Australia program to children and educators across Australia.