Little Scientists named as finalists in the prestigious science related Eureka Prize
An early childhood professional development program operated by Little Scientists Australia has been recognised with a finalist position in Australia’s most comprehensive national science awards, the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.
Nominated for the Eureka Prize for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Inclusion, Little Scientists Australia has been recognised for generating enthusiasm and confidence in educators, supporting them in delivering high-quality STEM education for Australia’s youngest citizens.
The STEM Inclusion category not only celebrates improving access to and engagement with STEM but also increasing its perception. Little Scientists Australia’s nomination for this prize, in particular, recognises that kindling an interest in STEM begins in the early years with fun, play and hands-on exploration.
Little Scientists Australia, a not-for-profit initiative of FROEBEL Australia, has established a network of local facilitators who run STEM professional development workshops in their own regions, creating pathways for rapid, far-reaching participation and impact in the early childhood education sector, Sibylle Seidler, Project Director at Little Scientists Australia explained.
The program provides practical, hands-on ‘tinkering’ in local workshops while introducing educators to “big” scientists from a range of fields in monthly STEM Hour webinars, to ensure that teachers and educators, no matter their post code, are proficient in creating high-quality learning environments to explore scientific phenomena with children.
“Early STEM experiences are crucial to the development and continuation of positive learning dispositions,” Ms Seidler added.
“When children have opportunities to solve problems through experimentation with fun, play and inquiry-based activities, it sets them up to have a strong sense of curiosity, becoming learners who are critical and creative thinkers both within and outside the classroom.”
“Being selected as a finalist is a tremendous honour and really affirms the significant impact that early years teachers and educators have on Australia’s future STEM leaders,” she said in closing.
Winners of the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes, honouring outstanding achievement in research and innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science will be announced during a live online broadcast on 7 October. The digital event is open to everyone and free to attend.