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STEM Leader – March 2020

Posted on February 28th, 2020 in STEM leaders
Carla Silvestri avatar

I have worked in early childhood education for 14 years.

My current role is… teacher in one of the four-year classes which becomes the Mid-Year Reception class in Semester 2.

My professional interests are… STEM, visual arts, gardening and sustainability.

This comes to my mind when I think of STEM…

For me, STEM exploration means happy and engaged children: Children working together, learning from each other, experimenting with different materials and resources and exploring technology.

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

Young children are curious beings and they have so many interesting theories about how the world works. Inquiry-based STEM experiences enable children to test those theories and to develop ways to work out answers to their own questions. Inquiry-based STEM practices respect children, their prior knowledge and ideas. The hands-on nature of experimenting and exploring means children are directly involved in constructing their learning and introducing them to STEM processes is giving them the tools for any type of learning, not just for STEM.

My favourite Little Scientists workshop is…

It is hard to choose one!

Probably Water since this is where I was introduced to the Little Scientists program. I was really inspired by the approach and wanted to start implementing what I had learnt as soon as I got back to the ELC!

My favourite STEM exploration with children…

How to pick a favourite? It varies year to year as individual children are fascinated by different things. However, exploring crystals as part of our water explorations stands out. Each child grew their own salt crystal after initially observing the evaporation of a salty solution. It teaches patience as well as scientific processes.

Life without STEM would be…

Hard to imagine, as STEM does not stand alone as a separate entity, it is interconnected with so many other areas such as the arts and literacy. In my opinon, a more integrated approach to teaching is needed so that children understand that STEM exists all around them.

In terms of STEM, I encourage my children…

Take risks and try something new – while some children dive in headfirst, others dip their toes in and might need encouragement to develop the confidence to share a hypothesis. I try to teach my children the courage to make a mistake and to embrace setbacks. I try to emphasise that many great discoveries happened through mistakes!

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

To be a learner with them and to share their curiosity, excitement and apprehension.

In a practical sense during experimentation, my role is to provide adequate resources for exploration and access to appropriate information as I guide their progress through the inquiry cycle.

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