Little Scientists announce the winners of annual STEM Awards
The Sector > Provider > General News > Little Scientists announce the winners of annual STEM Awards

Little Scientists announce the winners of annual STEM Awards

by Freya Lucas

August 15, 2022

The future of STEM is in great hands thanks to the work of inspiring early childhood educators around Australia, nine of whom have been recognised in the prestigious biennial Little Scientists Early STEM Awards.


The Awards celebrate the commitment and dedication of early childhood educators to inquiry-based learning in early STEM education, providing opportunities for children to learn as they explore, discover, create, improvise, test theories and imagine.


“As the world finds its way through in a post pandemic environment, creative thinking and challenging paradigms is more important than ever before,” said Sibylle Seidler, Project Director for Little Scientists Australia, “and we are grateful for those dedicated individuals on the front line in early childhood education, who are guiding children and families through this space.”


FROEBEL Parkville secures national win


National winners The Professor Lynn Corcoran Early Learning Centre: FROEBEL Parkville has  been recognised for their project “It takes a 100 years to grow a tree” which saw children aged between birth and six years of age working with their educators to learn more about time through multiple strands of inquiry, as part of a project which included children and educators from Melbourne, Sydney and Berlin.


“While supporting a sister centre in Germany who were setting up a STEM program, we decided to launch a joint project about time,” Stephanie Simopoulos from FROEBEL Parkville explained.


After building a baseline of understanding, educators began the learning journey with the question “What is time?” taking children on an inquiry journey which included a time machine, twilight kinder, time and routines, observing time on Country, linking Dreamtime stories to observations in nature, shadows over time, making sundials, and even a connection with OZGrav to pose astrophysical questions.


Judges described the winning project as “enormously interesting” and “a sophisticated, supported exploration of an everyday topic,” praising the service for engaging with international and interstate services, broadening the scope and reach of the learning.


Outstanding STEM Leader crowned


Christy-Lee Antonas, the Educational Leader at Hensman Street Elementary, has been recognised as the inaugural Outstanding STEM Leader 2022 in the prestigious Little Scientists Early STEM Awards.


Ms Antonas, who works with children aged three to six years of age, gained the attention of the judges for her fresh approach to STEM learning, and for her focus on children’s rights. By interweaving theory and practice, Ms Antonas ensures that her STEM work is based on rights, sustainability, advocacy and boosting children’s sense of agency.


State and Territory winners showcase originality


The seven state and territory winners (listed below) reflected the depth of talent in the early childhood sector, Ms Seidler said, with educators continuing to provide high-calibre learning experiences for children in the face of some very challenging staffing and broader sector conditions.


WA – Hensman Street Elementary – Ramps and Pathways


TAS – Bagdad Education and CareParks and Parts


SA – Good Shepherd Lutheran School (Curiosity Early Learning) – Air – How do we get things to fly?


QLD – Glass House Early Education Centre –  Can we save Humpty Dumpty?  


NSW/ACT – (highly commended) The Point Preschool The Spectacular Find


NT  – (Highly commended) St. Paul’s Early Learning CentreLittle Gardeners


VIC – FROEBEL Carlton Early Learning CentreLittle scientists with big senses


“Each of our winners, and indeed all those who took the time to make a submission, reflect the dedication and passion found within the sector,” Ms Seidler added.


“We are delighted to be able to recognise the nine winners for their successful work in integrating STEM experiences in everyday learning and thank them for the time and effort they put into supporting Australian children to become resilient individuals, capable of the critical thinking and problem solving they will need to be successful leaders, today and in the future.”


The Awards received 72 submissions for the Best STEM project category, and 14 submissions for the Outstanding STEM leader, a new category in 2022.


Judging the entries in 2022 was conducted by a panel of cross-sector researchers, representatives from FROEBEL Australia and independent consultants, all of whom agreed the standard of projects submitted in 2022 was outstanding.


“Congratulations go to all those who were recognised as finalists, and indeed to all our nominees,” Ms Seidler said.


Learn more about Little Scientists here. For more information about the Awards please visit the dedicated Awards page.

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button