STEM leader – August 2021

Shani Cai

Shani Cai, QLD

Shani Cai is a teacher at the Woods Early Education Centre – Queensland Child Care Services (QCCS), who has worked in early childhood education for nine years. Her professional interests are in exercise, healthy nutrition and working with the Kindergarten age group.

Shani Cai is a teacher at the Woods Early Education Centre – Queensland Child Care Services (QCCS), who has worked in early childhood education for nine years. Her professional interests are in exercise, healthy nutrition and working with the Kindergarten age group.

In addition to STEM experiments, exploration is at the forefront of STEM education for Shani, as inquiry-based learning gives children a chance to engage in problem solving, investigating and reflecting on their learning.

Her employer, QCCS, has supported Shani with upskilling and professional development in STEM education, providing her the opportunity to attend all Little Scientists workshops, which has created in her a greater passion to encourage STEM in her classroom.
Shani felt lucky to be able to attend the Little Scientists Water workshop as she really enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with other educators within the company and to find out more about their educational practice in STEM, and she values the learning around water-based STEM she took from the workshop.

Shani enjoys incorporating science experiments in the children’s learning experiences, her favourite experiments being fizzing planets, dinosaur egg and melting ice exploration. Without STEM exploration, early childhood education would be incredibly boring, she believes. She likes to encourage the children to explore their topics of interest while engaging in play-based learning.

She believes that her role in the children’s discovery and research is to encourage their curiosity, investigating and problem-solving abilities and to encourage them to notice, hypothesise, experiment, record and share their findings, while challenging them to make links between ideas and experiences.

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