Early STEM education celebrated as Little Scientists Australia named finalist for Eureka Prize.
Early STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education hits the spotlight as Little Scientists Australia is nominated as finalist in Australia’s most comprehensive national science awards, the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.
Nominated for the Eureka Prize for STEM Inclusion, Little Scientists Australia’s professional development program has been recognised for generating enthusiasm and confidence in educators, supporting them in delivering high-quality STEM education for Australia’s youngest citizens. A category in its third year, STEM Inclusion not only celebrates improving access to and engagement with STEM but also increasing its perception. Little Scientists Australia’s nomination for this prize recognises that kindling an interest in STEM begins in the early years with fun, play and hands-on exploration.
Early STEM experiences are crucial to the development and continuation of positive learning dispositions according to Sibylle Seidler, Project Director at Little Scientists Australia. “When children have opportunities to solve problems through experimentation with fun, play and inquiry-based activities, it sets them up to have a strong sense of curiosity, becoming learners who are critical and creative thinkers both within and outside the classroom,” says Seidler. “Being selected as a finalist is a tremendous honour and really affirms the significant impact that early years teachers and educators have on Australia’s future STEM leaders.”
Little Scientists Australia, a not-for-profit initiative of FROEBEL Australia, has established a network of local skilled facilitators who run STEM professional development workshops in their own regions, creating pathways for rapid, far-reaching participation and impact in the early childhood education sector. By combining practical, hands-on tinkering in local workshops with introducing educators to “big” scientists from a range of fields in monthly STEM Hour webinars, the program ensures teachers and educators, no matter their post code, are proficient in creating high-quality learning environments to explore scientific phenomena with children.
The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes honour outstanding achievement in research and innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science. The much-anticipated gala award ceremony at Town Hall in Sydney is going to be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions for the second time. This year’s winners will be announced during a live online broadcast on 7 October. The digital event is open to everyone and free to attend.