STEM leader – June 2021

Kristen Myers-Tapim

Kristen Myers-Tapim, VIC

With 20 years’ experience in early childhood education, Kristen Myers-Tapim is an advocate for STEM exploration and inquiry-based learning. She has a special interest in embedding technology as she finds it inspiring how technology can transport our thinking, offer new perspectives and push our realms of thought further.

The team leader at MLC Kindle in Melbourne is also continuing to learn about the Reggio Emilia approach and supports the development of Indigenous perspectives in the classroom.

STEM is very important for Kristen because it represents a world of possibilities and she values the sense of awe and wonder that comes with discovering something new. She is an advocate of inquiry-based learning because it engages every child and offers multi-dimensional learning.

Kristen’s favourite Little Scientists workshop is Engineering because she had so much fun building things. The workshops are a great reminder to educators of how much they ask of children each and every day; an opportunity to step into their shoes.

Kristen believes that early childhood education without STEM would mean a duplication of the curriculum year after year, whereas STEM leads to innovation, new ideas and questions that pave the way forward. She encourages the children to reflect, wonder, imagine; not be limited by preconceived notions but to think outside the box.

Kristen sees her role in the children’s discovery and research as always changing. She assesses what it is that the children need at any point during their explorations and finds that sometimes it is to source the appropriate equipment so the children can test their theories. At other times it is to rephrase or confirm their questions and ideas to provoke their thinking further. This journey of discovery occurs alongside the children and involves recording their reflective thinking, analysing their ideas and bringing their thoughts together in a cohesive way through documentation. This is then shared with the children as opportunity for further reflection and makes their learning visible to families and the greater community.

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