At Waratah 1 we have incorporated S.T.E.M into our daily program. Each day there are activities available for the children based around the 4 areas of S.T.E.M helping children to explore, observe, ask questions, predict, and integrate their learning.
Earlier this year two of our dedicated educators attended two 'Little Scientists' workshops to learn more about incorporating S.T.E.M into our program. The first workshop topic was on 'water'. During this workshop the educators learnt more about how children can use water in free exploration, prompted exploration and demonstrated exploration. In the second workshop we focused on Air. Both workshops are built around using existing, everyday materials, to make experimenting and exploring as accessible as possible.
Our educators have now set up a permanent S.T.E.M learning area within the rooms. Within this area we have a variety of resources for the children to use in exploration. We have also placed documentation up regarding S.T.E.M and our experiments that we have conducted. So far we have looked at how mould grows on bread, how coloured water walks up paper, air- speed using balloons and how different items weigh differently.
We haven't just kept the science area to the 3-6 year old preschool room either. We have extended it into our 2-3 year old toddler room as well. In our 2-3 year old room educators have designed an area with beakers, tweezers, pebbles and other odds and ends. It does become slightly messier in this age group but why should we just limit it to the older children.
Taking a holistic approach, the S.T.E.M program not only encourages scientific exploration, but also aims at ensuring the development of basic competencies for sustained lifelong learning, as outlined in the National Quality Framework (NQF) and the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).
The children have thoroughly enjoyed having a more hands on experience with science and love getting a little messy with some of the ingredients used in experiments.