book now button

STEM Leader – June 2020

Posted on May 30th, 2020 in STEM leaders
Carreen Long - STEM leader

I am from Adelaide Hills in South Australia.

I have worked in early childhood education for about 30 years.

My current role is… Full-time Preschool Coordinator at St Thomas School and Preschool.

My professional interests are…

Researching topics that will help me make a difference to the children in my Preschool; Keeping abreast of current research to ensure I meet the right of every child; Striving to offer a program where best practice and children’s learning are visible; Reggio Emilia: Documentation; Occupational Therapy, particularly primitive reflexes and inquiry learning through play with an emphasis on STEM.

This comes to my mind when I think of STEM…

I think of wonder; fostering children’s and adults’ curiosity; children working creatively; children using their imagination; children exploring and discovering the things they are interested in; teaching resourcefulness; enhancing engagement, joy and excitement; engaging children in research; supporting children with construction of theories; collaboration with others.

I am a fan of inquiry-based STEM learning because…

It emphasises the right of all children to play and be exposed to a rich variety of experiences that value their unique expression and cultivate their curiosity and engagement through inquiry.

Inquiry-based practices facilitate opportunities for children to learn in a social manner, valuing collaborative learning, connections to the natural world and community participation. The Little Scientists inquiry model acknowledges children and others as competent authors of their learning. Building upon children’s curiosity about their natural environment, they are invited to ask questions, explore, build concepts and vocabulary that will see them become globally minded, collaborative and confident.

My favourite Little Scientists workshop is…

Engineering because it was challenging, engaging and fun! Working on a group project and building upon each other’s strengths and ideas helped us achieve our common goal, made us feel innovative and allowed us to experience success.

My favourite STEM exploration with children…

Is our ‘Monarch Butterfly project’ that saw us win the Early STEM state award in 2018 for South Australia. The children’s enthusiasm to follow the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, to pose questions and engage with the project was exciting. We explored theories and made predictions together with the children. From an educator’s perspective it helped me explore ways to further develop the children’s metacognition [Metacognition: ability to evaluate own thinking processes] through the project’s journey.

Life without STEM would be…

Lacking so many essential experiences that are necessary for healthy child development: Inquiry through play; the magic of wondering and testing theories and exploring possibilities. Learning experiences would be lacking the joy and possibilities that STEM inquiries offer.

In terms of STEM, I encourage my children…

To be innovative, to seek and see problems, to verbalise questions and theories and to work with others to find solutions and answers. I motivate them to be curious, to celebrate the magic of discoveries with others, to share their learning and to make a difference in their world.

My role in the children’s discovery and research is to…

To be a co-researcher, a wonderer, someone who facilitates their shared joy in learning and discovery. It’s my role to ensure I put into practice my belief that children are capable, competent authors of their own learning and to facilitate their explorations and thinking and make these visible to others.

Share this page
BOOK your STEM workshop