NT Government invests in STEM with special program for preschool learners
The Northern Territory Government is hoping to foster an early interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with resources specifically targeted at the littlest Territorians.
The resources support the Government’s 2018-2022 STEM in the NT Strategy, and selected Territory pre-schools trialled the Pre-School Games, before resources were distributed to all NT government and non-government pre-schools, long day care and family day care services.
Melissa Keelan from Driver Pre-School was involved in the trial phase, and was impressed with the resources, which encourage children to be active, creative, and innovative using playful challenges, as well as being easy to facilitate for teachers.
“They are beautifully presented and have really supported our staff to keep our children engaged in learning” Ms Keelan said.
Based on the four core components of STEM learning, the games include:
Science Games – which prioritise children developing transferable, scientific process skills.
Technology Games – which encourage children to be inventive in identifying and using tools to make work easier, and to explore coding.
Engineering Games – to encourage children’s creativity as they respond to fun challenges requiring innovative thinking and reasoning.
Mathematics Games – that strengthen opportunities for preschool teachers to recognise and respond to the diverse mathematical competencies and language that children demonstrate as they transition into preschool.
As well as supporting the growth of STEM skills and dispositions, the games have been tailored to suit the Territory’s unique environment, with some best played during the dry season and others during the wet season.
In addition to helping build a child’s curiosity for these fields, the resources support educators and preschool staff to implement STEM playfully in the early years.
Acting Minister for Education, Eva Lawler said STEM was a core focus for the Government given that 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations worldwide require skills and knowledge in these areas.
“It is never too early to start. Development in the crucial early childhood years is critical to improving student success in school and into adulthood” Ms Lawler said.