The federal government is trialling a STEM program for preschoolers in a bid to encourage interest in the sector from a young age.
The $6 million early learning STEM Australia (ELSA) program, developed by the University of Canberra, will be rolled out to 4000 preschoolers in 100 early childcare centres across the country as a part of a pilot this term.
ELSA is designed to help children explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through hands-on and digital activities. The digital activities are delivered via ELSA children apps, which are available at the preschool service on their iPad and/or Android tablets.
The pilot will give children the opportunity to learn STEM through a suite of interactive apps on tablets as well as physical workshops and activities.
The first ELSA app in the suite will introduce preschoolers to the foundational STEM concepts of sorting, ordering, patterning and representations.
One hundred preschools from across Australia are taking part in the 2018 ELSA pilot, which also offers free workshops and resources for teachers.
Why STEM practices are important
The ELSA Pilot enables children to explore STEM practices. These are the ideas, methods and values that underpin STEM. They are important because they help children develop strong skills and values that are useful later in life, such as:
ELSA and the Early Years Learning Framework
ELSA is aligned with the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). EYLF describes outcomes which support and enhance young children's learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school.
For more information on this program: ELSA
Govt to spend $6m teaching tech to tots, IT NEWS, March 26, 2018