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Little Scientists is passionate about providing early childhood educators with inquiry-based STEM professional development. We do this through a range of in-person, in-service, and online professional development workshops across 10+ exciting, pedagogy-based STEM topics.

We are proudly supported by the Australian Government.

Who are we?

Our educational approach

At Little Scientists, we believe that children will find joy in STEM if they are given the opportunity to learn in a nurturing and playful setting.

Our holistic workshop program provides educators with a range of educational tools and concepts to support children to lead their own research and discovery and is designed with accessibility in mind using low-cost, everyday materials.

The Little Scientists approach guides children on a journey of exploration using scientific methods that focus on children’s joy of learning, their inquisitive minds, and strengthening their problem-solving skills.

The variety of workshop modules and materials developed by Little Scientists are deliberately designed to cater to children’s different needs and to expand educators’ repertoire of teaching strategies for STEM exploration.

This is because children respond in a variety of ways to different teaching methods and activities when exploring STEM topics. For instance, some children relish an open framework — they quickly embark on self-guided research and feel inspired to express themselves creatively.

For other children, they may require some form of instruction or guidance to support them to develop their own inquiries and ideas.

How Little Scientists views children

The pedagogical concepts promoted by Little Scientists is based on the following view of children:

The focus of the educator should be on the strengths, competencies, and development potential of each child, rather than on possible deficits.
Children do not need to be encouraged or forced to learn. They have an intrinsic interest in exploring and understanding the world.

Children actively construct their own knowledge and understanding of the world as part of the learning process. Therefore, it is critically important to connect the children’s interest and questions with any educational activities.

Human rights are children’s rights. These include the right to education and personal development. Whenever possible children should be involved in decision-making processes.

Children explore topics from different entry points and require individual activity options. Every child has different interests, abilities, and approaches and exploring those provides an opportunity to enrich the wider group. It is vital for development that educators have an inclusive yet differentiated view of the children they teach.

The pedagogical concepts promoted by Little Scientists is based on the following view of children:

Children have prior knowledge and competencies.

The focus of the educator should be on the strengths, competencies, and development potential of each child, rather than on possible deficits.

Children intrinsically want to learn.

Children do not need to be encouraged or forced to learn. They have an intrinsic interest in exploring and understanding the world.

Children actively shape their education and development.

Children actively construct their own knowledge and understanding of the world as part of the learning process. Therefore, it is critically important to connect the children’s interest and questions with any educational activities.

Children’s rights.

Human rights are children’s rights. These include the right to education and personal development. Whenever possible children should be involved in decision-making processes.

Each child is an individual.

Children explore topics from different entry points and require individual activity options. Every child has different interests, abilities, and approaches and exploring those provides an opportunity to enrich the wider group. It is vital for development that educators have an inclusive yet differentiated view of the children they teach.

Co-construction: Children and adults shape the learning process together.

To embrace co-construction as a teaching principle, educators must recognise that each child develops their own knowledge of the world and is an active shaper of knowledge and culture. Educators must be willing to enter into genuine dialogue with children, reflect on their own learning processes, and have the courage to share their unanswered questions too.

When embarking on a new project or topic, an educator should first seek to identify the unique perspectives and understanding that each child is bringing with them. From there, the educator can decide if a child needs support, for instance through guided participation.

Learning is a social process and in an education setting, the best learning occurs when children engage in activities with their peers and then discuss what has happened together. In this way, children “construct” knowledge with their educator. Co-constructed learning makes it possible to:

  • Exchange ideas.
  • Generate new ideas and knowledge together.
  • Understand different perspectives.
  • Solve problems together.

Metacognition: Children are aware that that they are learning.

Metacognition occurs when we consciously explore our own cognitive processes — our thoughts, opinions, and attitudes — by thinking about what we understand about our previous knowledge, our newly acquired knowledge, and our journey to get to here.

Conversations and discussions between children and the educator are especially important to metacognition. Educators should regularly talk to children about the fact that they are learning, what they are learning, and how they are learning. By encouraging children to express their thoughts and actions in words, educators can also support children to reflect on their own knowledge, construct their concepts of the world, and increase their awareness of their own learning processes.

Our educational principals

Co-construction: Children and adults shape the learning process together.

To embrace co-construction as a teaching principle, educators must recognise that each child develops their own knowledge of the world and is an active shaper of knowledge and culture. Educators must be willing to enter into genuine dialogue with children, reflect on their own learning processes, and have the courage to share their unanswered questions too.

When embarking on a new project or topic, an educator should first seek to identify the unique perspectives and understanding that each child is bringing with them. From there, the educator can decide if a child needs support, for instance through guided participation.

Learning is a social process and in an education setting, the best learning occurs when children engage in activities with their peers and then discuss what has happened together. In this way, children “construct” knowledge with their educator. Co-constructed learning makes it possible to:

  • Exchange ideas.
  • Generate new ideas and knowledge together.
  • Understand different perspectives.
  • Solve problems together.

Metacognition: Children are aware that that they are learning.

Metacognition occurs when we consciously explore our own cognitive processes — our thoughts, opinions, and attitudes — by thinking about what we understand about our previous knowledge, our newly acquired knowledge, and our journey to get to here.

Conversations and discussions between children and the educator are especially important to metacognition. Educators should regularly talk to children about the fact that they are learning, what they are learning, and how they are learning. By encouraging children to express their thoughts and actions in words, educators can also support children to reflect on their own knowledge, construct their concepts of the world, and increase their awareness of their own learning processes.

Meet the team

Emma Mcgarrity STEM Childhood education

MCGARRITY

EMMA

Project Director

Emma McGarrity 

With two young (very wild) boys of her own, Emma is deeply passionate about early childhood education and supporting the educators who work behind the scenes to care for and inspire our young children in those pivotal first years.

Emma joined Little Scientists in 2023 after a decade in political advocacy. She is excited about contributing to the early childhood sector at a time when our broader society and government are coming to fully grasp the importance of education — STEM learning in particular — in the first six years of children’s lives.

Managing Director

Olde Lorenzen

Olde is the Managing Director of not-for-profit FROEBEL Australia Ltd, providing bilingual early childhood education and care services, and responsible for launching Little Scientists as a professional development initiative in 2013.
He is a Renaissance man with skills and interests across the spectrum. He has a background in law, an interest in design, can multi-task and has an eye for detail while overseeing the big picture.

Olde was captivated by Lego play as a child, so his advocacy for STEM started at an early age. He is proud of Little Scientists recognition through the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda. He enjoys leading his enthusiastic team who are committed to re-imagining the Australian early childhood education landscape.

Olde Lorenzen Program Director STEM Education

LORENZEN

OLDE

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