We are excited to be presenting a selection of projects from our community of Little Scientists Houses and beyond. If you would like to embrace project work in your service, this is an excellent place for you to find inspiration.
As you’re reading about your colleagues’ experiences, you can ask yourself which questions the children in your care have asked recently that could lead to your own project work in your service.
Little Scientists is all about supporting you in your inquiry-based educational work and we offer you varied resources to implement our approach in your daily practice:
1. Participate in our Optics workshop to learn more about project work in early childhood education.
2. Read books with the children to start a conversation that may lead to your very own research project.
3. Be inspired by our beautifully illustrated collection of 20 projects from early childhood services.
The Nest Early Education Centre joins our neighbourhood of Little Scientists Houses. The Gold Coast service’s dedication to child-led STEM learning shines through its research project. If you are looking for inspiration foe inquiry-based learning in the early years, have a look at the shadow detectives’ work.
When the children asked questions trying to establish how things work, we realised that this was the perfect opportunity to let them find out in a hands-on way as part of our sustainability project. The children’s interest in finding out what’s going on behind the scenes of everyday machines and electronic devices aligned perfectly with our emphasis on reducing, reusing, repurposing and recycling as we asked parents to bring in items for the children to work explore.
What better place to run a child-led project on germs than a service attached to a hospital? Involving the parents working at the hospital gave the children great insights into their day and their work at the hospital. Find out how the children conducted a germ study by wiping slices of bread on door knobs and pets.
When we noticed that some children were not trying new foods offered at lunchtime, we suggested they hold their noses while eating. This started a conversation about what the nose does. Why would you hold your nose while eating? How is smell related to taste? Why is the nose important? “So you can breathe?” “So you can smell?”
Inspired by one of our parents’ involvement in a fundraiser with the theme ‘Becoming a waste-free world’, our school readiness children brainstormed ideas for reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill each year. They came up with a range of ideas: “We can give our clothes that don’t fit the little kids.” “What about giving our scraps to chickens?” “Not buy as many toys.” “Put milk bottles in the recycle bin.” “Give worms the food we don’t eat.” From these ideas, we investigated two areas more thoroughly: Textile and food waste.
Observing deciduous trees over a long period of time gave the children great opportunities for sensory exploration, reflection on life and death, appreciating the effect of the weather on the environment and realising the importance of record keeping.
While most children playing in the mud kitchen just pretended to drink their ‘cups of tea’, one child did drink the dirty water, which started a discussion on why we should not do that. When one of the educators showed the children a video about parts of the world without access to clean drinking water, the children decided to invent a water filtration system.
As the children were immersed in playing with wooden cylinders, exploring balance and building tall towers, the educator took their interest in construction with wooden blocks as a starting point to research bridges together with the aim of constructing a bridge as a group.