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Sparking a love of science in the early years

22 Aug 2019

Sparking a lifelong love of Science

Students participating in Science week

A child’s love of science starts well before they enter the high school science lab and light up the Bunsen burner. It starts with the first fallen Autumn leaf scrunched in a tiny hand or putting together their first Lego house.

Educators start laying the foundations for young, curious minds to be actively engaged in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (often referred to as STEM) when they first start school.

An important aspect of STEM learning in the early years is to create authentic learning opportunities, supporting curious students to explore the world around them. At Gowrie Primary School, students explore a range of emerging technologies including robotics, coding and 3D printing as well as the traditional STEM subjects. The school focuses on developing mathematical, scientific and digital literacy through the Australian Curriculum as well as promoting problem solving, critical analysis and creative thinking skills. Students at Gowrie are also encouraged to attend STEM enrichment opportunities through GATEWAYS or Coding Clubs, National Science Week activities and the Science Fair.

The engagement starts right from preschool. Gowrie Preschool has been involved in the exciting Early Learning STEM Australia (ELSA) pilot program which is designed to help students explore STEM through digital and hands-on activities that encourage and prompt children to ask questions, make predictions, experiment and reflect on what happened and why. They also take part in the Let’s Count program, which supports parents and teachers to develop students’ mathematical skills by noticing, exploring, and talking about numbers, counting, measurement and patterns in their daily lives.

Engagement from parents and carers is also crucial during this time and families are encouraged to observe, explore and talk about Science and Mathematics as it occurs in everyday life, such as when cooking a meal or doing the grocery shopping.

Teachers from Gowrie Primary School undertake ongoing professional learning to build their knowledge and skill capacity in current STEM content and teaching methodologies. They also work with professionals in the field to develop engaging resources and learning opportunities for students. Partnerships with facilities such as the Centre for Innovation and Learning gives students access to state-of-the-art science equipment and facilities and provides professional development opportunities for teachers.