STEM practice in the early years

Coral Campbell, Christopher Speldewinde, Christine Howitt, Amy MacDonald

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Abstract

In 2015 and 2017, we observed four pre-school centres, researching science, maths and technology pedagogy and how opportunities presented themselves for learning in outdoor settings. The purpose of this paper is to interrogate STEM practises in the early years, practices that are informed by play-based education pedagogies, to understand approaches to STEM education. The research adopted a mixed methods approach which, in addition to our observations, included a pilot survey and educator interviews. These data are brought together to examine practices of STEM education in pre-schools. We were able to view pre-school centres as places that provide varied, rich experiences for children to develop understandings of STEM. Importantly, we observed that children’s STEM experiences enhance their self-belief in their ability to learn STEM, and these early years’ opportunities trigger STEM appreciation and its value to everyday life. We were able to conclude from the research results that integrated STEM, particularly science and mathematics, arise through children’s play and themes arising from their interests. The findings importantly highlight how different practices and pedagogies are used to support STEM learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-25
Number of pages15
JournalCreative Education
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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